Black at SVSU sends good vibes

Fingers snapped and bodies swayed to the music as students came out to Black at SVSU 6: An Africana Cultural Celebration.

The annual event started five years ago through the efforts of Black Studies students. The event is modeled after the highly successful CNN program: Black in America. Hosted by the Organization of Black Unity (OBU), The Office of Multicultural Services, The College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Black Studies and the Department of History, the event has entered into its sixth year. This year they decided to celebrate the arts.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Pakeitha Oldham

Performers from Valley Voices perform during the sixth annual Black at SVSU event. This year, Black at SVSU celebrated the arts with singing, dancing and spoken word poetry. Sponsored by the Organization of Black Unity (OBU), the goal of the annual event is to bring a diverse group of people together in the spirit of collaboration.

OBU adviser Kenneth Jolly had clear-cut expectations.

“The goals for the event are to show the SVSU community a well-rounded view of the culture of the African-American students,” he said. “We want to show that there is more than the stereotype of what you see on TV (and) in movies. We want to show a versatile aspect of the arts through education and history, music, spoken word and so much more.”

The event introduced a mix of performances, ranging from dance to singing and various forms of poetry from groups such as Valley Voices, N-Tense and Forte.

Keynote speaker Tacarra L. Ford performed a speech entitled, “We Started at the Top, Now We’re Here!?! : What Happened to Sankofa.”

Ford is a native to Saginaw and holds a BA in English literature and sociology with a minor in Black Studies from SVSU. Ford also founded EXPRESSIONS Poetry Society and the Delta’s UN.I.Q.U.E. Mentor Program. Ford is also the author of a collection of poetry entitled “Welcome to My Soul.”

“This program seeks to promote a diverse campus culture and to foster respect for the differences that make each individual unique” OBU President Jennora Walker said. “[It seeks to] facilitate collaboration between individuals whose experiences, whose cultural, racial or religious background, or whose orientation and perspectives may differ from one’s own.”

Walker said the event prepares students for successful lives in an increasingly pluralistic society.

“I come every year, and every year they amaze me more,” health science senior Shanice Draper said.

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