For the fourth day of Pan-African week, paint pallets and rhythmic beats blended at Trap N’ Paint. Hosted by the Black Students Board, this event provided a space for Black students to express their creativity while surrounded by familial culture and community.

Several circular tables seating six to eight participants were filled with canvases, easels, paint brushes and pallets. Food and drinks lined up on a long table upon entrance for guests to indulge in. There were a diverse range of attendees from first-year students experiencing their first Pan-Af week to second and third-years back for more. A few of them shared their experiences with Nubian Message.

MyAsia Jackson, a third-year student studying Political science and criminology, highlighted the event’s role in creating a safe space for self-expression. She said, “It allows us to have a place to be ourselves, be comfortable to be ourselves, and express ourselves in a place that was made for us.”

The paint canvas had stenciled outlines of legendary stars in Black music which provided a creative starting point. Many current artists like SZA and Drake as well as classic Hip-Hop artists like Tupac were popular picks among the crowd. The accessibility of the stencils allowed students of all skill levels to participate without pressure to create masterpieces.

A second-year Mechanical engineering student who prefers to remain anonymous shared their thoughts with Nubian Message. “What drew me to the event was that I liked the idea of listening to music and painting while getting to see fellow Black people. It’s a nice way to decompress during finals and nice to see everybody out. Even though my painting turned out trash, it was fun and creating the art itself was the most rewarding aspect of the experience.”

Many participants enjoyed the event despite not being Picasso level artists. The event welcomed all levels of artistic abilities and even those who were just there for the social aspect.

Ladi Folarin, a second-year Civil engineering student, talked about how the event’s unique fusion of art and music resonated with his hobbies. He said, “I like music and painting so doing something that I like to do in my free time made me want to come even more. Music gets me hype and painting puts me at ease in the mind so listening to trap music and painting is a contrast to the calmness. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions that balances out.”

The event seamlessly blends Black culture with artistic expression. It allows Black students to showcase their talents and partake in self-care and mental relaxation during the exams season.
Of course, no Black event would be complete without dancing. When the stroll songs came on, members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, including Zeta Phi Beta and Alpha Phi Alpha, took center stage, performing for the audience.

Kaleb Hall, a second-year student studying Communications and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. emphasized the importance of such events. He said, “It’s really important to have events like this to show off our culture at NC State, at a PWI, and build community with other African Americans to come out and support, especially during the stressfulness of exams.”
Looking ahead, attendees had a few minor suggestions for improvement. Some proposed offering a more diverse range of painting options and music genres, including slower jams like R&B and old 2000s music.

Additionally, one attendee suggested transforming the night into a “sip n’ paint” experience, complete with mocktails, amplifying the sense of relaxation.

Despite these potential improvements, Trap N’ Paint was a unique event fostering a space where students could recharge, express themselves and decompress.
From the upperclassmen to the first-years, Trap N’ Paint was an engaging evening with a great turnout.