This year, the Black Student Union’s (BSU) production of Cultural Expressions occurred on Saturday, February 26 in Esch Hurvis with the theme of “U.N.I.T.Y.” The event is an annual showcase of BIPOC talent and is hosted every Winter Term on the last Saturday of Black History month. Talent was expressed in various forms, including singing, dancing and spoken word. The event was packed, with nearly every seat full and multiple students standing in order to attend. The show opened with a land acknowledgement and a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” widely recognized as the Black national anthem, sung by Sarah Navy. This song was followed by two segments, divided by a brief intermission. The M.C.’s, Sheldon Garmon and Eder Bellegarde brought their excitement with each introduction of talent, and the crowd was incredibly energetic in welcoming each performer.
It was evident that each performance incorporated preparation and talent from every individual involved, and the night was packed with skilled artists. The performances were largely linked to the theme of unity, with students expressing their thoughts on community, healing, romance and self-love. Many performers tackled issues of racist violence and discrimination, specifically through spoken word poetry. Students Monique Johnson, Chloe Thomas and Moreau Halliburton used their poetic voices to speak about unity, self-acceptance and racist violence. The poems all were delivered with precise execution, with Halliburton using a film format to portray her message.
Various musical groups and soloists showcased their talents throughout the show with covers and original songs. The opening performance from Tomi Oladunjoye used experimental sound bath to set the scene for the rest of the show. This first song, without vocals, was a meditative experience, with the crowd immersed in sound. The show included multiple creative and captivating covers, including Preston Parker, Liam Phillips and Jonah Trudeau covering Stevie Wonder and Sarah Navy singing “I Was Here.” Two original songs were performed as well, demonstrating the immense creative talent of the students. The first original song, entitled “Zucchini,” was performed by Kate Stenson, Ahmad Allen and Nate Ferguson. This song was dedicated to Stenson’s brother and was intended for those battling motivational issues and depression. Ahmad Allen also presented a song entitled, “Air for Thought,” which demonstrated the artist’s piano and vocal skills.
The night also incorporated multiple dancers, including Tyler Antoine’s skilled voguing. Voguing, invented in the 1980’s by Black gay and transgender individuals, was explained to the audience, and the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic about the performance. Duo Chloe Thomas and Raven Ganaway performed “Fever,” which showcased their immense talent and coordination. The show ended with Afrofusions, choreographed by Amaka Uduh, which included multiple dancers who interacted with audience members for this final piece.
The night ended with many thanks to members of the BSU, including a shoutout to the tireless work of each performer who shared their talents with the crowd. Audience members were invited to view the gallery located in Mead Witter, which showcased the artistic work of various students.