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The Daily Tar Heel

Face Behind the `Freak'


Greek Freak is the annual step show and afterparty sponsored by the Mu Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc. Last year Greek Freak had a record attendance of 8,132 people. The show has earned a reputation as one of the premiere step shows in the South, with appearances by Black Entertainment Television's Big Tigger and major corporate sponsorship by and Heart & Soul magazine.

For the past two years, Campbell, a computer science major from Pemberton, N.J., has worked as coordinator or co-coordinator, collaborating with show pros, security, the head of Greek affairs and corporate sponsors to produce a successful and secure event.

"Last year Big Tigger was a big name," he said. "This year we said, 'Who could bring in a bigger crowd?' Most everybody agreed on (BET personality) Hits From the Street."

So Campbell got busy, called BET and scheduled Hits to host the show. "People say 'you guys have connections,'" Campbell said. "But I just picked up the phone and called. They give you the runaround, but by the end of the day, you have Hits' manager's phone number in your hand."

LaMar Mack, president of the Mu Zeta chapter, is not surprised by Campbell's dedication. "A lot of people don't see a lot of the backstage work that goes into Greek Freak," Mack said. "That's stuff that Charles very actively and energetically takes a hold of."

Campbell has devoted the majority of his time to making sure the show goes off without a hitch. He uses spare moments to iron out the fine details. Sitting in the Student Union Wednesday, Campbell was on his cell phone working out flight arrangements, checking and double-checking to make sure everyone was on the same page.

The weeks leading up to the event have been hectic. "I don't have time to think," he said.

But while he has stayed busy fulfilling his responsibilities as coordinator, he's also hitting the books. "I'm trying to graduate," he said with a smile.

Campbell hasn't worked alone organizing Greek Freak. Subcommittees handle step teams, publicity, security, etc. All 20 Alpha Phi Alpha brothers have put in a lot of hours.

As coordinator, Campbell is integral -- a main ingredient to the spice that is Greek Freak. But he credits past coordinators for paving the road. "All the bricks were laid down for me," he said.

Those brothers held the first Greek Freak in 1988 as a fund raiser. Today Greek Freak is still the major fund raiser for the chapter, now with nonprofit status. In 2000, the show raised more than $6,000. Revenue from the event funds Mu Zeta's service projects such as the Nubian Queen luncheon and the Mu Zeta Scholarship for undergraduates. The fraternity also donates money to the Inter-Faith Council homeless shelter and the Sonja H. Stone Black Cultural Center.

After tonight, Campbell will be able to relax, knowing he's helped many people by doing his job well.

"On one hand, it's a party to provide entertainment for the people," he said. "But on the other hand, it goes to scholarships to help educate the people."

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