ATLANTA — When Robin Thicke visualized the concept of his “Give It 2 U” video, his wife, actress Paula Patton, came up with the idea to include Historically Black College or University (HBCU) Dance teams. The uniqueness of HBCU dance teams is not easily duplicated; it can only be obtained by performing at an HBCU school.
As a result, artists and production companies are hiring actual HBCU dancers for their live performances, videos and movies. Robin Thicke can now be added to the list of artists who have done so, which includes superstars like Madonna.
The video production company, Black Dog Films, sought assistance from HBCU Dance Corporation to find the teams and seal the deal. HBCU Dance, founded by Keelia L. Brown and Sharmekia Brooks, is a non-profit organization that assists and teaches collegiate level dancers, as well as high school dancers, who desire to dance at a Historically Black College or University through dance training camps, scholarships, team sponsorships, audition assistance and more.
However, it was HBCU Dance’s connection services and knowledge of the HBCU dance community that made them a great fit for identifying and selecting two teams for the shoot.
“The selection process for us was not difficult as we were only planning to recommend the top dance teams,” said Brown. “The Albany State University Golden Passionettes and the Alabama State University Stingettes are both reputable and talented teams, so we knew they’d deliver a great performance” said Brooks, HBCU Dance Co-founder.
“This is truly an awesome experience for us and we are grateful to have been given this opportunity.” Kiana Holman, the Passionettes’ co-captain said, “I would like to continue to do this again and again.”
Co-captain Kenay Phillips agreed.
“It was a lot of hard work but it was well worth it,” she said.
Not only did the video shoot have positive impacts on the dancers, but it’s also providing exposure for their administrative staff. Albany State student and choreographer Dee Perkins, and former coach for the Stingettes, Lisa Porter, helped choreograph many of the groups’ routines and formations during the video. Both are being credited as choreographers for their work.
The video is expected to debut later this month.