Singer, songwriter performs original music, covers ballads Saturday for Black History Month

Award-winning singer/songwriter Chinua Hawk said he knew growing up he was going to be a singer.

Hawk performed for an audience of about 25 people 7 p.m. Saturday in the Bovee University Center Auditorium as part of Black History Month.

“God made me that way,” he said. “I never wanted to be anything else even as a kid. I have been singing for 12 years."

Hawk’s repertoire included cover ballads from artists such as Michael Jackson, Gnarls Barkley, Motown and the Jackson 5, as well as his own original songs.

In the first half of the show, Hawk performed popular songs such as “Grenade” by Bruno Mars and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.

Marceil Davis, assistant academic adviser for Gear-Up, said he did not expect Hawk to perform all the cover ballads he did during the performance.

“I think it was really good,” the Flint resident said. “I didn’t know how (he) was going to do all these covers, but it was good for everyone to be involved.”

The second half of the show featured Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

Kenyan first-year graduate student Allan Busaka did his research on Hawk prior to his performance.

“I thought it was amazing,” Busaka said. “I checked him out on YouTube prior to his performance where it was more on covers.”

Detroit sophomore Johnny Jones also knew Hawk prior to the show.

“It was awesome and I enjoyed myself,” Jones said. “I knew him prior to the performance so I knew what he could do. I wanted to see him live."

Steve Lewis, president of Program Board, which sponsored the event, said the performance was "really good" because Hawk has a nice voice.

"I saw him at a conference a couple months ago and he didn’t disappoint then either," the Allegan senior said.

Hawk ended his performance by telling the crowd to remember that God makes people beautiful in their own way and ended with his own original song — “Beautiful”.

Some students wanted Hawk to perform more of his original songs rather than cover songs.

“I believe that originality is the best,” Busaka said. “He needs to focus more on his own stuff. When I checked him out on YouTube, it would have been nice if he posted more of his stuff.”

Hawk enjoyed performing for the audience because of their involvement by participating and singing along with some of the songs.

“Anytime the students are able to connect and laugh along," he said, "it will always be a great show"