“We must come together and grow as one, regardless of race or gender. Expressions. Both Sides of the Mirror.”
Cierra Pearson, senior in Spanish and interpersonal communications spoke these motivational words during her “Who Am I?” introduction of Expressions. This event, which was an exploration and restoration of race, gender and class, was held last Thursday, by the Black Students Board and co-sponsor, the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Hosted by senior in biochemistry, and president of Eta Omicron, Lamar Crawford, this event consisted of nine incredible performances by students, followed by a marvelous performance by Jazz artists Galen Razzaq and Band. Before the performances identical twins Michelle Alvarez, a sophomore in microbiology and Leslie Alvarez, a sophomore in communication came together hand and hand, as looking into both sides of the mirror, to define the Expressions.
The initial performance was by sophomore in mathematics education, April Gaddy and sophomore in the first-year college Telesha Heilig, of the hymn “Amazing Grace,” originally written by former slave-ship captain John Newton. Following, junior in communication John Craig presented an original poem entitled “Love,” which expressed deeply what the joy and pain of love truly is, through the eyes of everyone and provided a better understanding of love through a sense of different sexualities. Rikkia Miles, freshman in biological sciences expressed her desire to spread the awareness of poverty within youth by performing a dance to “Stand Up For Love” by Destiny’s Child.
A poem called “Black Before I Knew It,” which provided feelings and expressions of what it is like to be black, and how blacks are placed into a social class by their skin color, was performed by freshman Janiece Cooley, major in biological sciences along with interpretive dance by freshman in biochemistry Aki Asressahegn and freshman in biological sciences Keandra McNeil. Sophomore in communication, Keyuntae Ward, along with Heather Gavin, performed an original song called “Just Fine.” The song represented realistic issues many people have with relationships, in which despite the problems people may have in a relationship, they still love each other and want to be with each other for a lifetime.
The sixth presentation was the speech “Ain’t I A Woman?” by abolitionist Harriet Tubman, which was well addressed by freshman and major in electrical engineering, Shanequa Winstead. The speech was about the treatment of women and blacks, back around the times of the American Civil War and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Subsequently, junior in business administration Candace Payne and sophomore in electrical engineering Zack Credle danced spiritually to the inspirational song by gospel recording artist Byron Cage, “Broken, But I’m Healed.” This performance was quite emotional to the audience, and the aim was that we can make it out of our struggles and through our obstacles with faith and strength. “Lyfe” presented a spoken word called “Was It Me?” in which he said “the struggle of African-Americans is shown through the epitome of the single black mother.” It was written for his own mother, who passed away from a stroke, as well as being a representation for all the single mothers who strive in order to make sure their children make it into the right direction in life. And finally, to wrap up the student expressions, Issac Owolabi II, senior in aerospace engineering flawlessly cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon, “Drum Major Instinct.” Dr. King delivered this incredible speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, two months before his assassination.
For the second part of Expressions, one of the most popular artists for performing at campuses and universities, jazz musicians Galen Razzaq and Band, performed for the audience, as well as giving the audience a touch history on jazz music and composers. The turnout for this event was ecstatic. There were more than 230 people at Expressions, and the seating ran out within ten minutes before the show actually started. Freshman in communication Jason Cooper said, “I am so surprised to see how many African-Americans are supporting this event and Black History Month…finally!” Cooper is right when he says this, because it is important that African-Americans come together to acknowledge their roots and the reason that they all stand today, as well as staying informed on where they come from. Freshman in business administration and marketing,
Marcus Pollard, a freshman in the transition program mentioned, “There are a lot of African-American people here as well as other races, together for one cause; people of different races, genders and classes, all here to express themselves.” Expressions definitely turned out to be a very successful and enjoyable affair.