CSUDH had a strong showing at Super Bowl LVI, with Toros involved in several aspects of the historic Los Angeles occasion and the events leading up to it.
In a university first, the CSUDH Dance Team got to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show for 70,000 fans in SoFi Stadium with Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem.
Six student members of the dance team, one recent alumna, and Coach Cilecia Foster performed as part of the 150-person field cast during Eminem’s piece and the concert finale. Dressed in hoodies and sweats, the field cast can be seen in many of the wide-shot angles of the show.
“This is the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” said Foster. “Our students learned so much about what goes into a production, and we got to perform for 100 million people watching around the world.”
“Watching them get that experience was everything for me. I loved watching them take it all in.”
Equity and Social Justice
CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham joined the NFL-hosted Social Justice Roundtable in Inglewood, where community leaders from across the nation discussed how to implement positive change going forward. Organizations including 100 Black Men of Los Angeles and L.A.’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department were also in attendance.
NFL Honors Show
The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), founded and led by CSUDH Department of Music faculty member Charles “Chuck” Dickerson, served as the house orchestra for the NFL Honors Show on Feb 10. The show, broadcast on ABCTV and hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, was the orchestra’s first nationally televised event.
ICYOLA performed a pre-concert before the show, with pieces by John Williams and William Walton, music composed by the NFL’s staff composer Dave Robidoux during the show, and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (arranged by Dickerson) for the “In Memoriam” portion of the program.
Watch Keegan-Michael Key introduce ICYOLA during 0:00 – 3:25 and the “In Memoriam” piece from 1:37:25 – 1:40:05 on YouTube.
“When our youngsters perform for events like this, they prove that they are first class players,” said Dickerson. “When they represent the various communities that we represent—like CSUDH—in performances like this, we demonstrate to the world that they are first class citizens.”
“We regard it a privilege to have performed for this event, and we hope that we have made everyone who is a part of our family proud. We’ll cherish this opportunity for a long, long time.”
On campus, the CSUDH Esports Association hosted empowering events for local youth. On Feb. 10, girls aged 11-18 attended the Believe N You Experience, hosted by Collette V. Smith—the NFL’s first African American female coach. In addition to a football mini boot camp, the girls attended talks about breaking gender norms and forging career paths.
Then, on Feb. 11, the K.I.NG. Esports Tournament exposed middle and high school young men to careers and educational opportunities in esports. The event, delivered in conjunction with the BOSS Program and GearUp Compton, featured keynote speakers from sports and media figures as well as a Mario Kart tournament at the CUSDH Esports Incubation Lab.
CSUDH Esports Association General Manager Ruben Caputo said that the group was “thrilled to be working with organizations that want to empower young scholars and introduce educational opportunities.”