Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Black Student Union hosts annual Black History Month Showcase

The event featured a large lineup of student performers and a variety of interactive segments
Lynus Erickson/Daily Collegian (2020)

The Black Student Union hosted its annual Black History Month Showcase on Feb. 27 at the University of Massachusetts’ Student Union Ballroom. Featuring a “warm sunset tones” theme and a line-up of 13 performers, the event was a “celebration of various aspects of Black culture,” and commemorated the Black community on campus.

“Ranging from food to dance, we plan to show how Blackness has developed and how it is today,” said Lydia Washington, event’s host and former senior director of Student Organizational Development and Management at UMass.

The evening kicked off with popular musician and special guest Kid Fob, who performed an array of his songs. Following him was musician Juliannie and Marco, a spoken word poet.

UMass dance groups Afrodites and Insanely Prestigious Step Team were part of the line-up. Members of the UMass Alpha Kappa chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and Beta Beta chapter of Iota Phi Theta fraternities had their own respective dance performances.

The UMass Brotherly Union performed a spoken word poem. There were also multiple other individual performances, and a set by the UMass Gospel Choir.

Esosasere Michelle Osunde, a junior economics major, was the penultimate performance of the night. Dedicating her performance to her mom, who “embodies what Black excellence is to [her],” Osunde felt very “blessed, honored and privileged” to have been given a space to sing a song that meant a lot to her.

“We definitely need more events like this at UMass that showcase the talents within the Black community, and we need a wider, more multicultural audience,” Osunde said. “[We should show and educate them on] what it means to be Black, and that Black people can be beautiful, powerful, and everything they want [to be] at the same time.”

The event included multiple interactive segments with audience members. There was an impromptu fashion show, where the best dressed attendees flaunted their outfits, a “finish the lyric” challenge and a dance moves segment. Tickets to the Black Mass Communication Project’s Code Black Party were also given out through a raffle and during crowd interactions.

Audience members could be seen dancing along with the acts and taking photographs against a backdrop, which were developed into a customized BSU Black History Month graphic. There was a buffet-style dinner with a multitude of food options from different aspects of Black culture to celebrate the African diaspora.

“It was inspiring to watch so many Black students come together and celebrate each other’s talents and achievements,” said Adrianna Brent, a junior public health and political science major, who attended the showcase.

“I am so proud of the Black UMass Community for supporting each other endlessly,” she said.

Kofi Osei Asibey, a junior operations and information management major, was also in attendance. “[I was] most excited to see all the performances. I chose to go to this event because it’s a great way to celebrate Black History Month and showcase Black talent on [the UMass] campus.”

Asibey noted, “I like how BSU is ending Black History Month with such a beautiful event like this.”

The event concluded with a dance performance by the Students of Caribbean Ancestry. Following the acts, the audience congregated towards the center of the ballroom and continued to dance.

“Events like the showcase are important because they help celebrate Black culture and create a safe space for students of color to showcase their talents,” said Kyleigh Anne Hairston, vice president of BSU and a junior public health major.

“A lot of time, effort and teamwork goes into planning big events like this, but in the end, it’s all worth it. If it wasn’t for my amazing e-board and our advisor and other faculty at UMass, we wouldn’t be able to do events like this,” she added.

Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Mahidhar_sl.

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