Photo by Lily McCabe

Alandya Warren, a fourth-year studying communication, waves while singing along to a song during the BSB Back 2 School Jam in Stewart Theatre in Talley Student Union on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, North Carolina State University’s Black Students Board (BSB) welcomed students back to campus with their much anticipated Back 2 School Jam. The annual occasion marked a joyous return to campus life and activities while highlighting the Black community’s beauty and culture on NCSU’s campus.

Before the event, over ten organizations spread across the venue tabling allowing organizations to advertise to a larger audience. The spectrum of organizations was diverse and only showcased a small number of groups created to curate a community of support and camaraderie for Black and Brown students on campus. 

Some organizations, such as the Black Artist Coalition, centered around promoting and encouraging the creativity and artistic passion of Black students on campus. Other groups, such as the Multicultural Young Educators Network (MYEN), are established to provide a community for students of color within their respective career paths. Altogether, the organizations tabling that night provided opportunities for attending students to embrace their passions and further engage in their interests.

Meanwhile, anticipation grew along with the line outside of Stewarts Theatre. Though initially just a queue, the line evolved into a chain of laughter, greetings and lighthearted conversation. As the time for doors to open grew closer, each attendee became more eager to watch and even participate in the night’s entertainment.

Once doors opened, attendees quickly migrated to their seats as conversations continued throughout the theater, encouraging excitement. As the crowd settled, the event began with an introduction from the host, the Director of BSB, Arianna Jenkins, warmly welcoming everyone to enjoy and look forward to future events.

Following the introduction, the atmosphere shifted as DJ Trellz hyped the crowd, catering to all the attending age groups. Playing classics and line dances, audience members rushed to the stage to dance to their favorite songs. As familiar songs filled the air, the atmosphere completely softened; those still passive or at their seats were drawn to dance and sing with those around them.

After several songs with the crowd primed, the spotlight shifted to the night’s highly anticipated performers, and the crowd was not disappointed. The performing organizations showed off their skills practicing through their smooth choreography and impressive stunts.

Code Red, a cheer team accessorized with red pom-poms and uniforms performed. The team filled the room with an infectious sense of high-spirited energy by showcasing the Stomp N’ Shake cheer style. Their fun cheers and seamlessly coordinated choreography actively commanded the audience’s full attention. The air held enthusiasm as the team performed.

Throughout the night, we witnessed amazing performances from some of the Divine Nine Greek letter organizations on campus. The performers included: the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Kappa Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the Kappa Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the Xi Zeta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the Mu Xi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the Kappa Omega Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Each performance was phenomenal and electrifying.

Fusion, a multicultural dance crew known for their smooth and precise hip-hop-based choreography, drove the crowd wild, garnering cheers from the audience with their dynamic style and excitable moves. Each step executed was a testament to the time dedicated to their performance.

Following the captivating opening performances, the energy within Stewarts Theatre remained high as the DJ transitioned into playing more crowd-winning classics. The familiar songs resonated within the crowd, lifting spirits even higher. 

Engaging the audience, the DJ played more line dance songs and games. One game that stood out required audience members to raise the flashlights on their phones whenever they recognized a song. This simple activity transformed the audience into a choir, singing along with the songs in a nearly spiritual manner. As favorite songs played, the sea of lights lit up the dark room into a visual testimony of the community formed within the theater. When asked about how she felt about the event, Destiny Ward, a second-year student, tells Nubian Message, “I think the event was well put together with having the performances interact with the crowd…”

As the event continued throughout the night, the spirit of togetherness and unity only continued to evolve and deepen. Old relationships strengthened, and new relationships blossomed.

As the night ended, the warmth of community and excitement for the school year lingered. Back 2 School Jam was more than just an event; it was a vibrant and colorful celebration of diversity and community on NCSU’s campus. The event allowed the Black community on campus to assemble and witness unity and pride from within. 

Furthermore, it was a great night that enhanced the sense of fellowship for students of color on campus. Joshua Ijaola, a second-year Computer Science student, said, “I loved the event; I could feel a ton of positive energy within the crowd and the passion that went into every group’s routine,” he continues, saying, “I’m quite excited for next year’s performance! Can’t wait for what they come up with next time.” 

After a night of laughter, dancing and singing, people are already looking forward to next year’s Back 2 School Jam.