By Bria Isaacson, Staff Writer
Since 1976, February has officially been the nation’s Black History Month. Although this is not the first time Asbury University has celebrated Black History Month, it is the first year that there had been a whole week of cultural events.
Members of the Black American Student Alliance (BSA) and Allelon, a student leadership council that plans cultural events, have been working together to create a week’s worth of events celebrating Black History Month. The theme of this week was celebration, shown through the different African American art forms and their creativity, according to Esther Jadhav, the Director of Intercultural Programs.
BSA’s main activity for this week was “A Night at the Apollo,” which will take place on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Stuce. The event will feature Asbury performers, such as singer David Keener, poets Alex Ike and Ellis Bryson, and dancer Frances Dudley. This event paid homage to Apollo Theater in New York City, which hosted famous African American artists, such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Louis Armstrong.
Monday will feature a chapel and talkback session at 11 a.m. from Reverend Matthew Smyzer. On Thursday, students can head to the the Cafeteria to enjoy Louisiana-style “comfort food”
and a performance by the university’s’ Jazz ensemble. Friday night will offer a performance of BrownGirl. Bluegrass., a one-woman play about the cultural history of African-Americans in Kentucky. The final event of the week will be the Saturday night showing of Selma in the student center.
At the beginning of the semester, Intercultural Programs initially planned for one event a month. The week-long celebration resulted from BSA’s passion to share their culture, according to Chelsea Griffith, who is Program Assistant in the Office of Intercultural Programs.
“We hope that members of the Asbury community will attend these events with an open mind and walk away with a greater appreciation and understanding of African American culture,” senior Julia Chin, President of BSA, said.
BSA hopes that this event, alongside the others, helped students to become more aware of African American culture and to dispel misconceptions surrounding the culture.
“As a club, we have talked a lot about the fact that…people tend to confuse African American culture with just African culture,” Chin said. “In reality, most of us were born in America, so our culture just goes hand-in-hand with America’s culture. We want[ed] to use this week to highlight significant parts of our history as Black Americans.”