Arts, Arts Features

Behind the Scenes of ‘Living in Color’

Inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s “We Cry Together” and director Sam Levinson’s Malcolm & Marie, Angus Williams, singer-songwriter, and MCAS ’25, birthed the theme for this year’s Living in Color showcase—the tensions of inter and outer relationships within and surrounding the Black community. 

In comparison to last year, Williams, also known by his stage name CARAMEL, decided Living in Color would run during the span of one evening, merging different types of artistic talent into a single event. Williams gathered two poets, two dance performers, four vocalists, Waaw Waaw Boston College, a violinist, a bass player, and two pianists to make Living in Color an experience that will convey the different stages of racial tension through multiple forms.

“I’m excited to have all the different parts come together,” Williams said. “To see that art come together in one space, all those different genres of art.”

Williams emphasized how every member behind the making of Living in Color is united by their passion for doing what they love and the message they aim to deliver, whether this be through dancing, singing, managing the team, writing poetry, or playing instruments. 

The evening will be composed of five thematic chapters—dissonance, realization, anger, healing, and continuation—each followed immediately after the other as narratives flowing in conversation with each other and each featuring Black talent through poetry, dance, singing, improvisation, and more. 

Williams has brainstormed this event since last year, discussing his ideas with his manager and co-producer, Brian Kazinduka, MCAS ’25, ultimately shaping a concrete plan for the ambitious evening. With the event coming up this Thursday, Feb. 29, Williams and his performing team are fleshing out the last details for the day they  have prepared for since the beginning of the semester.

“I think this is gonna be a production unlike anything BC has seen before,” Isiaah Clark, pianist and MCAS ’24, said.

During rehearsals, Williams fosters a sense of family and community by directing every performer and witness to gather in a circle to introduce themselves and share their concerns and hopes for the event.

“I’m stressed about how it’s going to look on stage,” Jaylen Keller, Sexual Chocolate member and MCAS ’25, said.

Keller will dance alongside Caitlyn Gibb, member of F.I.S.T.S. and LSEHD ’26, in the show’s third act, which will focus on anger The creation of a dance that reflected anger in its various forms was a collaborative effort between Keller, Gibb and Williams. 

“It definitely felt weird at first,” Keller said. “We were trying to figure out sort of like what we would do just to even start it off with.”

Sexual Chocolate and F.I.S.T.S. have inherently different dance styles, so blending the unique signatures of each group was part of the creative process. Their dancing is also meant to pair with a poem read before leading directly into the dance, so a close lyrical and rhythmic analysis of the poem was helpful in deciding how to craft their movement. 

“Once we got into a groove, it was a lot easier,” Gibb said. “Making a step from scratch is actually very hard, and especially when pairing it with like a poem or like music.”

The poetry elements are the core of the show, and are what Williams ultimately uses to anchor the rest of the performing arts. The words from Benedita Zalabantu, MCAS ’25, and Alioune Diba, LSEHD ’25, drive the five-stage process followed throughout Living in Color

“I’m looking forward to sharing a stage with another poet because I’ve never done that before,” Zalabantu, a spoken-word poet, said.

Williams gave Zalabantu and Diba themes to base their poems, which they have transformed into poetry that they will perform out loud at different points in the show. 

“I’m excited about how the stories will flow into each other and we’re all narrators instead of having one narrator,” Victoria Adegboyega, vocalist, member of B.E.A.T.S, and MCAS ’26, said.

Adegboyega is one of the three vocalists who will sing alongside Williams’ original songs that they have composed for the purpose of this event. 

Williams’ artistry and passion was something that inspired those performing in the event, according to Gibb. His drive to put on an event that uses performing arts to capture the racial tensions through five stages makes the event unique from last year’s, and different than any other performance BC has seen before. 

“I’m really excited and inspired to see how passionate Angus is about this project,” Gibb said. “He just, like, puts his heart into his art. So I’m really blessed and honored to be a part of making his vision come to life.”

The event will take place on the last day of Black History Month, Feb. 29, presenting itself as an opportunity for deep reflection on what the Black community means for every individual. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. at the Vandy Cabaret Room for attendees to access the free event. 

“We’ve had that day in our calendar for a long time,” said Kazinduka, who has been working as Williams’ manager since their freshman year. 

Williams made it clear that his goal for the evening is not only for performers to interact with each other through their art, but for the audience to feel welcome to join the interactive nature of the event. Performers will stay for Q&As and food will be provided to accompany the theatrical spectacle of this year’s Living in Color

When people leave the show, there’s not one clear-cut message that the audience will be taking away. According to Williams and Gibbs, the show will hit so many different feelings and evoke countless emotions in any one individual. 

“I didn’t want to have, like, a resolution, because this is this performance about the Black experience,” Williams said. “From, like, the African diasporic experience to just Black experience overall and how those two intersect, there is no resolution to the dissonance that we have. There’s just ways to cope.”

February 25, 2024