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LGBTQ students of color to take center stage at SHADES talent show

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LGBTQ people of color will have the chance to move from the shade to the spotlight.

SHADES, an Ohio State organization that aims to empower LGBTQ students of color, will host its first-ever talent show, QPoC Talent Show, on Wednesday.

The talent show is open to everyone in the OSU community to attend, but performers must be LGBTQ people of color, said Akul Gulrajani, a first-year in computer science and the social media director for SHADES.

“It’s kind of the mission of our organization to empower queer people of color and give queer people of color a spotlight,” Gulrajani said.

Among the acts will be drag performances, spoken-word poetry and music, said Justice Harley, SHADES co-president and second-year in women’s, gender and sexuality studies and African American and African studies.

“We just had the idea of a talent show and then we decided to center (on) LGBTQ people of color, it was kind of an organic idea,” Harley said. “Under previous leadership there was a magazine for queer people of color to submit art and poetry and things of that nature, so this is like a similar thing except instead of in hard copy it’ll be live, onstage art and music and poetry.”

There will also be a musical performance by local activist Wriply Bennet as the final act of the show.

Performers can sign up online before the event or when they get to the show.

The show is a way to spotlight a community that doesn’t typically get much recognition in mainstream art and entertainment, Gulrajani said.

GLAAD reported that of the 47 LGBTQ characters counted from major studio movie releases in 2015, 72.3 percent were white.

“We really want the talent show to be a place for queer people of color to showcase their work,” Gulrajani said. “You don’t really see a lot of those people in media or in music, and when you do they aren’t really given a really big spotlight.”

Harley added, “The goal of this event is essentially to center their voices and to celebrate them as well, it’s supposed to be a fun night.”

The SHADES QPoC Talent Show will take place in University Hall Room 0014 on Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. Admission is free.

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