CMASS paint night celebrates African American culture

35 students attend popular event

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CMASS paint night celebrates African American culture

(Meghan Sorenson/Daily Collegian)

(Meghan Sorenson/Daily Collegian)

(Meghan Sorenson/Daily Collegian)

(Meghan Sorenson/Daily Collegian)

By Meghan Sorensen, Collegian Staff

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The Malcolm X Cultural Center held a paint party titled “Paint and Whine” to celebrate an aspect of African American culture on Friday night.

A description of the event said students at the University of Massachusetts would “feel comfortable and at their most heightened creative point” while “surrounded by their culture’s music and their people.”

While the event’s attendance was capped at 35 people, a waitlist began less than an hour after sign-ups were opened.

“This event brings joy and unity to their community through culture expression,” the description continues.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the four-hour event encouraged creativity and cultural awareness, with Level the DJ playing R&B and hip-hop favorites throughout the event. CMASS also ordered food from Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill in Springfield.

Led by artist Jaurice Jones from Enovative Art, event attendees created African-American takes on the popular Powerpuff Girl cartoons.

Trinity Monteiro, the event coordinator for the MXCC, said they were “very intentional about the artwork that we are painting” to relate it to the Black culture.

“Whether it’s pop culture or doing a retro theme, it’s always about empowering Black culture… they’re painting artwork that reflects them and looks like them which is a really big point that we try to make,” said Monteiro, a junior sports management and communications double major.

This was the second paint night of its kind, and the organization is working to make paint night a once a semester event. The MXCC holds other events including an annual Black heritage cultural dinner in February to celebrate the end of Black history month, a Kwanzaa series to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa and a cultural appropriation workshop around Halloween.

“I think it’s really important to bring the community together on a regular basis, not just on a matter of when something bad is happening on campus or reactive, but taking more of a proactive approach to make sure that we’re coming together for celebration, for mourning, for grief, for excitement, just on a regular to always be there to support one another,” Monteiro said.

“I feel that these events aren’t solely for Black [people] or people of color, they’re for everyone. It’d be great if everyone would come through to see how great the food is and how great everyone else is,” said Aisha Revolus, a junior public health and anthropology double major. “It’s for everyone obviously, but I think it’s more so to highlight different identities on campus”

The paint night was scheduled to be around midterms to give students a chance to relax and destress.

“I feel like from just this setting and from this venue, I feel like it’s an outlet for us as college students to just unwind and show our creative side while having fun,” said Janet Kalu, a sophomore public health and Spanish double major.

The MXCC was established in 1971 to provide Black students a space for social gatherings, speakers and educational purposes. It is located in the basement of Berkshire Dining Commons. According to its website, the centers were introduced to benefit black students during a time where universities were working to accommodate black students but were not yet equipped to support the necessary college transition.

“As the community grows at UMass, the black community especially, we try to adapt to their growth and incorporate new workshops especially as we have new staff members,” Monteiro said. “I think that the events specifically that we do here at the Malcolm X Cultural Center are definitely important to bring the community together because we have a mix of educational and social events.”

Meghan Sorensen can be reached at [email protected]