BSU Hosts Showcase Celebrating “Black Joy”

Lydia McFarlane, Staff Writer

On Friday, Feb. 18 from 9-11:30 p.m., the University’s Black Student Union hosted a showcase in honor of Black History Month. The theme for the showcase was “Black Joy,” where performers and audience members were able to celebrate the joys of being Black. 

As doors opened at 8:30, attendees came in dressed to impress, as per the formal dressing guidelines. Giddiness was in the air as audience members and performers alike anxiously awaited the start of the show. The showcase involved performances from dance groups, readings from poets and live music. Dance teams “The Superlative,” an all style, multicultural dance crew, and “Ablaze,” a hip hop dance team with Caribbean and African influences, wowed the crowd with their moves. The crowd fed off of both teams’ energies, and both performances elicited clapping and impressed howls from the audience members. 

In between performances, the showcase’s hosts succeeded at rousing excitement in audience members and keeping the good energy flowing. The Black Student Union also invited alumna and former professor Cynthia Glover to share some words with the audience. She gave a speech that had audience members enthralled. 

“Where society has told Black people to be quiet or that we’re too loud, rippling in joy is an act of resistance,” Glover said. 

Glover’s talk was followed by Kai Davis’s performance. Davis is a poet and writer from the Philadelphia area who recited three poems for students at the showcase. When asked what Black Joy meant to her, Davis replied, “I love how Black Joy makes me move or howl or dance or simply be.” Davis received laughs, snaps and appreciation from the audience as she recited poems about Blackness, about queerness and about simply being. 

During a short break from performances, food and drinks were offered to those in attendance. During this time, one of the hosts of the showcase, senior Qadir Ismail, shared what hosting the event meant to him. 

“It’s an honor to host this event, especially when we talk about how much Black joy means to the Black community at Nova,” Ismail said. 

The best part of the night for Ismail was “coming together to celebrate us and being Black.” Shortly after the event paused for some mingling, food and drink, band Amari Rebel and the Movement took the stage to perform a set. Audience members were captivated by the rock and reggae band, or as lead singer Amari Rebel defines it as a “Bobby Hendrix” sound, which fuses influences from reggae singer Bob Marley and rock artist Jimmy Hendrix. The band was an audience favorite, performing several songs as well as taking a pause to offer remembrance and gratitude for its ancestors. While there are many different ethnicities, nationalities and cultures that fall under the umbrella of being Black, Amari Rebel wanted to celebrate that through all of these differences, many audience members share the experience of being Black in America. 

The showcase ended with a sneak peak at a trailer from filmakers “The Last Letter,” which is the film production team from Hezekiah Lewis’s Social Justice Documentary class offered within the University’s Communication Department. The film will be released in April, and it features bomba music, a traditional style of music with African influence in Puerto Rico. As attendees filed out of the event, there were smiles and warmth all around. Organizers and Black Student Union members would classify this event as a success, reveling in all of the “Black joy” the event set out to, and succeeded in inspiring.