Students Express Cultural Pride During Black History Month

On Wednesday February 8, USF’s Black Student Union and the Intercultural Center’s Lyricist Lounge hosted a cultural empowerment event called “Expressions.” Students gathered in celebration of Black History Month to share music, poems and dance inspired by their cultural identity.
Reflecting before the event, Black Student Union Vice President Camille Janae sat in the front row contemplating the words of a poem that expressed how she intends to create her legacy.
“I want to create a legacy of giving it my all to whatever I do, and also, being a person who serves others, and someone who does for others for the sake of doing it for others, not for my own honor or recognition,” Janae said.
She also said why Black History Month is important to her.
“It gives people a chance to reflect in the black community, and to remember people from the past who were brave enough and had courage to stand up for change. And in doing so, made a way for people to be where they are today,” said Janae.
Continuing to link the significance of Black history month to the legacy she wants to create, Janae said her appreciation for her ancestors has a lot to do with her passion for her identity.
“No matter who you are, where you are in your life, especially if you have come far…I feel like it’s a responsibility to give back in some sort of way. Paying it forward if you will,” Janae said.
“Expressions” was meant to create a presence of the African American community on campus. It was one of many other events that will be held in honor of Black History Month also known as national African American History month.
Students who do not identify as Black or African American also attended the event. Some contributed pieces ranging from themes of love, courage and female empowerment. Others also spoke about their appreciation of loved ones.
Sophomore Keyaira Lock sang one of her favorite jazz love songs by Julie London entitled: “You’d be so nice to come home to.”
It was Lock’s second time participating in the expressions event. She explained her motivation for participating.
“The environment here is really supportive, and it being Black history month I wish students could come out and support these types of cultural events…A lot of the times we feel underrepresented and a lot times we feel the University community doesn’t support us as much as they should, and I think they are missing out on a lot,” said Lock.
The Black Student Union’s largest event will be their Black Cultural Dinner to be held February 23. The keynote speaker will be MC Lyte, who is most commonly known for being a female rapper in the late 80’s. Her most recent work includes educating the community on issues facing female African Americans in regards to black female empowerment.

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