BSU Hosts Light Up the World Showcase


Villanova Black Student Union

BSU hosted their showcase on Feb. 18th

Victoria Newsome, Staff Writer

On Friday Feb. 18, at 9 p.m., members of the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a powerful and vibrant showcase called, “Light Up the World: A Celebration of Black Joy.” Students of all shades, hues and backgrounds attended the showcase held in the Villanova Room to embrace the impact of the arts and how they uplift the Black community at Villanova and beyond. Seniors Qadir Ismail and Atira Meade led the celebration smoothly by introducing each incredible performer, artist, speaker or poet.

To kick off the night, the VU Superlatives (an all styles, multicultural dance group on campus) performed a jaw-dropping routine consisting of various elements of mainstream hip-hop and jazz funk. The crowd went wild as the dancers nailed all their moves with precision, confidence and swag. Following the performance, LASO (Latin American Student Organization) co-chair, junior Kristian Olvera, brought his poems to life by speaking on inequalities within society and what Black joy means in his life. The inequalities established within society ultimately inspire Black joy to flourish in the face of hardships and times of defeat. This enables the darkest times to transform into glorious opportunities for greatness. Next, Villanova alumna and former professor of Sociology Cynthia Glover spoke about her experience while she was an undergraduate student and how Black joy at Villanova has progressed over time. Glover had many comical yet striking comments about her Villanova experience that people enjoyed relating to as she discussed the differentiating cultural dynamics from her college days. 

After Glover’s remarks, Ablaze, a multicultural hip-hop dance team at Villanova, performed a high-energy hip-hop routine with many contemporary elements of dance from around the world, originating predominantly from African descent. Ablaze brought the heat as it lit up the floor with its fresh moves and fantastic facial expressions. The energy was contagious as many students continued to cheer and hype them up as they performed. As they left the floor, Kai Davis, a queer black woman from Philadelphia, presented a few excerpts of her poetry to emphasize the exploration of Blackness and Black joy. 

“I love how Black joy makes me move or howl or dance or simply be,” she said.

Her quick and clever wordplay captivated the audience when she began reciting her own poems. One of her most resonating poems highlighted all the hopes and dreams she has for her “baby girl,” which represented an abstract version of a young Black child growing up and having to work twice as hard to earn the same things as white people. The poems encompass the history of barriers society has put up to oppress people of color from being joyful, nevertheless celebrating the joy in their lives without feeling harassed or scrutinized. She also spoke on how being Black and part of LGBTQ+ community inspires her to proudly spread joy and love through teaching workshops and slam poetry. As she concluded her final poem, the hosts allowed everyone in attendance to help themselves to cocktail hour foods and refreshments from local Black-owned restaurants.

After the break, music started to rock the Villanova Room with a special guest performance from the band, Amari Rebel and The Movement. The band originated as a musical tool for Black liberation. The genre it performed consisted of Soular Rock, which is a combo of rock, soul, hip-hop and reggae. It had the crowd chanting “Rebel Love” as everyone found a fun way to sing along and enjoy the strong messages of Black love and joy being portrayed in the music. Next, Villanova graduate student and self-taught artist Ajibola Bodunrin explained how he creates art to express the feelings of Black individuals and how media and documentaries contribute to Blackness through global storytelling. Last Letter Films is a social documentary filmmaking group in the University’s Communication Department that shares different peoples’ stories from across the globe and films their stories in those locations. It played the teaser to the film it’s producing this year called “Rooted.” It is a unique story based on a local musician in a Black community in Puerto Rico featuring collaborators Jomar Abrante and Maricruz Rivera Clemente. Lastly, BSU played a promotional song video to display a musical artist attending UPenn who goes by Malpractive and promoted his new song. 

Although the evening served as a toast to Black excellence, try to keep in mind that Black Student Union events are not only for Black people. The BSU showcase was organized to cultivate the culture of Black arts, love and most importantly, joy, with all people regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Therefore, efforts like these are essential building blocks to creating a more diverse and educated environment on campus.