Black History Month Potluck

Israel White, Staff Writer

There is nothing more beautiful than laughter, love, and unity within the Black community. The evening of February 21st captured this essence perfectly as the Paint Branch Black Student Union (PB BSU) hosted its 2019 Black History Month Potluck in the cafeteria.

The evening held a night full of home cooked food, light-hearted laughter and deep, passionate performances, all of which created a family atmosphere where all felt welcome to celebrate Black History Month.

Everyone got a chance to eat and talk with one another before the PB BSU introduced the Black history themed trivia. As trivia began, students jumped out of their seats racing each other to the mic to get a chance to answer and walk away with prizes.  

Following the trivia excitement, Aliyah Adegan kicked off a series of moving performances with her inspiring piece titled “My Hair,” a piece that reflects her refusal to surrender to American society’s “strangling grip” ordering her to “give up [and] fix your hair.” The sense of power and self-awareness voiced through this poem was the perfect way to start off the night as it captured the strong spirit of black pride in not only black people as a whole, but specifically in black women.  

“Tired of being looked at as just another nigga with no father figure,” Jelani Wendt exclaimed as he highlighted the struggle of what it means to be a young, black man in America. Wendt illustrated the struggles with a cutthroat passion delivering lines like “as a black man, I’m more likely to die with a pencil in my hand than I am to finish college.” In a final reference to Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest against violence aimed at the Black community, Wendt ended his performance by taking a knee as well.

Ryann Haynes only kept the momentum going as the audience of students, parents and faculty cheered on eagerly. “A single diamond can never outshine a million,” Haynes recited. “We’re all brighter when we shine together.” The message of black unity and strength could be felt in the room as the energy grew stronger and stronger.

Lancie Kier paid homage to legendary black soul singer Sam Cooke in a powerful, heartfelt performance of “A Change is Gonna Come,” a song that embodies the widespread pain and agony amongst blacks during the era of the Civil Rights Movement. The strength of her voice and the soulfulness of Cooke’s words served as a perfect combination that clearly moved the crowd.

The Eclectic Steppers took to the floor in the final appearance for the night. Their powerful performance ended the evening with great intensity, and conveyed a message of inspiring history. Chanting and stepping in precise unison, the Eclectic Steppers finished off the performance with member moving to the front of the crowd to give a short speech on just a few of the prominent black women in America’s past.