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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

On January 17, ASUC Superb announced that Soulja Boy will be performing at our school, UC Berkeley, for free on Friday, January 27. The doors would open at 4 p.m. and the show would begin at 5 p.m. However, only the first 900 students would be allowed inside the makeshift venue. 

Safe to say, word spread fast. Within days, it became common to see people practicing dance moves for “Crank That,” or singing along to “Kiss Me Thru the Phone.” Many began planning their schedule for Friday, expecting the line to be long. One person told me he was going to wait at the door starting at 12 pm. I thought it was absurd, but the concert was free, on campus, and I knew the songs. So I planned ahead as well. 

It’s 2 p.m. I rush out of my last meeting of the day and sprint back to my apartment. I quickly change out of my clothes and grab my student ID along with my keys and phone. As I make the 15-minute walk back to the university, I see similar people decked out in concert gear, cranking out Soulja Boy. The excitement in the air is clearly visible. 

Originally I meant to save some spots for my friends, but I ran into some people I know. So I joined them in line, with about 200 people in front of us. The doors open at 4 and we feel confident about getting in. ASUC Superb, the organizers of the event, had said they will accept about 900 people into the room. While the minutes pass by, groups get larger as people try to skip the long line. Everyone begins running into people they don’t necessarily hang out with, but know. Students in line are pre-gaming, getting drunk, and smoking weed. Some people play Soulja Boy out loud, and others get food. Anticipation is high and people are laughing. Then the clock strikes 4 p.m. 

Crowd at Soulja Boy concert on Lower Sproul at UC Berkeley
Original photo by Ana Gonzalez

The long line suddenly becomes a large moshpit. Friends get separated. We’re getting crushed. Elbows are in our faces, and we struggle not to fall because if we do, we know we won’t get back up. Someone stepped on my feet, and another pulled my friend’s phone out of her back pocket. Complete strangers become entangled in an intimate embrace as they lock eyes and stay still in uncomfortable positions. It’s far from silent. People are screaming, laughing, crying, and talking. The loudest of them all was a drunk figure in a gray tank, chanting “Astroworld!” 

He continued to be a menace, harassing students around him and verbally abusing those around him. Foaming at the mouth, the man continued to spit insults as his friends tried to calm him down. Meanwhile, ASUC Superb continued to let more people in without heeding attention to the crowd. Every time a few people entered, the pit became a frenzy. Students continued to gasp for breath and plead for help. My friends and I held hands to not lose each other and checked on each other constantly. We were being pushed closer and closer to the insane figure who reeked of booze. 

ASUC Superb finally decided to take action by not allowing anyone who was not waiting on the steps of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union Building. For context, the building hosting the event is a common hub for students on campus to bring their food and socialize with friends or study. The event was being hosted in Pauley Ballroom, where coordinators claimed they would let in the first 900 students. In a since-deleted post, ASUC Superb filmed a video explaining where people should line up, detailing the stairs that lead up to the ballroom balcony. 

According to various reports, both online and anonymous statements, Superb only allowed around 100-200 students in — the students on the stairs. There were murmurs that staff realized they were not equipped to handle such a large crowd inside. That’s understandable, considering how terribly managed the crowd outside was. Superb staff began yelling at the crowd to leave. But it was impossible to hear over the ruckus. Some people tried to climb over the rails. Others tried to enter through the side doors. But Superb was firm on not letting anyone inside. Instead, half the staff made sure no one came through the stairs, while the other half laughed at us through the balcony. 

Crowd at Soulja Boy Concert on Lower Sproul at UC Berkeley
Original photo by Ana Gonzalez

We were being filmed and made fun of as some of the students began to create ‘L’ signals on their hands. To add insult to injury, staff began throwing merch at the crowd in an attempt to calm us down. At that point, my friends and I were finally able to make our way out of the crowd. As we left, we heard sirens and watched students surround an unconscious girl. The place was mayhem: medics arriving, beer cans and used joints littering the floor, and people singing and dancing — but everyone was angry. 

Later that night, ASUC Superb released an apology statement on Instagram. Yet students continued to flood the comments furious with the lack of crowd control. Some students claimed there was blatant racism at the event. Others called for an internal investigation. Reddit also became a space for attendees to vent and air their concerns. Two days later, on January 27, ASUC Superb announced they were postponing hiring as they “concentrate our efforts on addressing last Friday’s event”.

Though the lack of planning is on ASUC Superb, I was surprised to find Soulja Boy reposting videos of the crowd chaos on Friday. He even claimed the show was “sold out,” despite only a hundred people being let in — all for free. He seemed to poke fun or make light of a serious incident that left people physically hurt.

Altogether, the event was a mess. Attendees were looking forward to the event since the information was released. Instead, medics came, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt. I will say that there was some staff who tried their best to calm the crowd and support help, but those were a few. Management should be held accountable, and an investigation must occur so this fiasco of a ‘concert’ never repeats.

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Judy Saafein

UC Berkeley '25

Hello! My name is Judy Saafein and I'm currently studying political science and media studies at UC Berkeley. I love experiencing new things and listening to music- currently Taylor Swift. I write about my real experiences because no one should ever feel alone. Thank you for reading my articles!