Amid the various events hosted in the bustling University Union on Friday, the Diverse Cultural Xcellence (DCX) club added a unique touch with an open mic that connected Binghamton University students with residents of the Greater Binghamton area.
DCX on campus is a branch of Broome County’s DCX organization, and strives to create a space for discussion on issues facing intercultural interactions. Liz Lee, public relations chair for DCX and a sophomore double-majoring in art and design and German, said the club’s interactive general body meetings help shed light on unrecognized stigmas.
“We’ll take something like ageism, sexism, racial profiling and turn it into a fun event like Tinder,” Lee said. “We’ll have a bunch of Tinder profiles with people of different backgrounds and ask why would you [swipe this way].”
Diverting from the typical dynamic of their meetings, the open mic placed the responsibility of leading and showcasing culture on the members who came.
“We are learning about other people’s cultures depending on what they decide to perform,” Lee said.
A variety of cultures were explored through the performances, which ranged from dancing, rapping and singing.
Caleb Qi, a junior majoring in mathematics, shared the Japanese song “Kataomoi” by Aimer. Philip Hodges, 19, of Binghamton, said coming to events on campus allow him to get exposure to new music.
“It lets me get an idea of what kind of music to use in [my] dances,” he said.
A 25-year-old rap artist from the Southside of Binghamton going by the stage name Soup also came to perform. He is involved in multiple organizations on campus, including WHRW 90.5 FM, and often performs on Friday nights at the University. Soup said over the past five years that he has been coming to campus, he has found greater exposure and attention for his music.
“There are a lot of people here who want to hear my music and reach out and connect,” Soup said. “Beatboxers that I meet [and] a lot of talented people here and we can share our talents.”
He said events such as the open mic provide an active and welcoming space that is harder to find in the local community.
“The city of Binghamton isn’t as accepting of hip-hop,” he said. “The bars Downtown — most of them wouldn’t want me to perform.”
DCX members were supportive of every performer through loud cheers and applause. Lee said the goal of DCX on campus is to create an environment in which people will listen to one another and overcome barriers through the expression of cultures. Although the event saw a relatively small turnout, the club remained optimistic.
“Even when the turnout is small, it gives us the opportunity to get to know every single member and we get to talk to them,” Lee said. “Either way, it’s a win-win.”