Student performers shared their personal experiences through art, music, dance and spoken word at this year's fifth cultural night, “Expressions of Blackness,” whose theme was “A Night in Our Ancestry: How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?”
With the Soda Center transformed with black, purple and gold decorations, and centerpieces depicting prominent African-American activists, a student prayer began the evening, followed by a student-planned menu of fried cat fish, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and sweet potato pie.
The April 10 performances reflected on how the question of “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?” has manifested throughout different time periods for African-Americans, specifically pre-slavery Africa, slavery, the Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and modern day times. Many of the spoken-word pieces throughout the evening challenged stereotypes and misconceptions about how the African-American community has been—and continues to be—viewed in this country.
Some of the performances brought characters to life, such as the late Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, who shared their stories as a reflection on how African-Americans are targeted by violence. A video skit made by the “BSU Brothas” focused on the stereotypes of African-American males on the Saint Mary’s campus. The night ended on a celebratory note, with a choir performance and an African dance piece.
The goal of cultural nights is for the campus community to learn about and celebrate the cultures, histories and experiences of our diverse student body. The sixth and final cultural night of the year is The Bash: Through the Looking Glass, an LGBTQIA community event, on Thursday, May 1, 6-9 p.m. in the Soda Center.
(Photo via the IC's Instagram.)