Kuumba Ujima Black History Month Showcase

Kuumba Ujima Black History Month Showcase

Brought to you by the Cazenovia College Students of Ethnic Diversity Club.
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On Saturday, February 11th, I attended the Students of Every Diversity Club's Kuumba Ujima Black History Month Showcase held in the Cazenovia College Catherine Cummings Theater. Let me start by saying wow. Simply, wow. SoED did a fantastic job putting this showcase together.

They did an excellent job including art from both the on-campus and local community, with student acts from the Infinity Step Team, Walid Ibrahim, Lloyd Mqalo, La'shawn Sylvester, Salat Ali, and more.

The showcase opened with an energetic rap performance from Jaleel Campbell and Ibro Badji, followed by Dashe beautifully singing the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice." Her performance left me with goosebumps. Next came a dynamic African drum trio, Signature Soul. This band kept the audience engaged right to the last second, with their incredible talent, and not to mention, their pretty awesome dance moves. The Cazenovia Infinity Step Team took the stage next and blew the crowd away, as they always do, with their dance routine. La'Shawn gave us a demonstration of a Caribbean block party and kept the crowd at the edge of their seats while performers took turns Double-Dutching on stage. Signature Soul, a poetic duo, earned a standing ovation after performing three spoken word poems about the current state of the black community. The show continued with performances from Jay Shaun, Walid, Tareeq and Michael, Lloyd, and many, many more.

One of the acts that truly stood out to me was the speech given by alum, Joshua King, spokesperson for HIV Stops With Me. King spoke about his personal experience battling HIV as a recent college grad and how he used his illness to motivate him, rather than hinder him, to continue his career in fashion and helping others struggling with the same illness. His speech was truly inspiring and emotional. If you or someone you know is struggling with HIV, visit their website for information on resources and treatment.

The showcase ended on a powerful note, closing with a presentation and poem by Salat Ali, about what it is like to be a Somalian Muslim refugee. His story was moving and emotional, as he spoke about how the current Muslim travel band directly affects his family. For the past several years, Salat's mother has been trying to leave the refugee camp and come to America. Finally, this year, she was finally able to come close to the completion of the process...until the travel ban was inacted. Even though there was a halt placed on the travel ban, it is still extremely difficult for Muslim refugees to leave their camps and come to America for freedom. Salat's family is still continuing to have hope and trying to get his mother to America. Hopefully, they will be successful. Salat also shared his daily struggle of battling stereotypes and micro-aggression towards his identity and community. He opened our eyes to what it is really like for a refugee.

Overall, this showcase shed light on many important topics, while bringing attention to so many local artists working towards bettering the community and exposing everyone to true black culture. If you didn't get to go this year, make sure you attend next year. It is SO worth it.

Thank you, SoED, for putting on this phenominal showcase and for sharing such a wonderful culture with the community.

Cover Image Credit: Jaleel Campbell

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Used To Think Height Didn't Matter, But Maybe It Really Does

I've come to a conclusion

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I've had my fair share of boyfriends in the past. A common theme in my past choices of boys is that they were all an inch or two taller than me or the same height. Now, I am a little on the taller side considering that the average height for a woman in the US is 5 feet 4 inches tall. I'm not saying all the tall boys belong to all the tall girls and the shorter guys should stick with shorter girls, but I do think there might be something behind all this madness.

My reasoning for this is simple: I've been in an amazing relationship with someone who is fairly taller than me. Is this reason totally irrational and have no sort of concrete evidence for this argument? Yes, totally, but hear me out. All my other relationships haven't been this good or even had the potential to be this good. Is it a coincidence that they were all shorter? I think not!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys who are under 5'9''. There are some nice ones who probably don't talk to 5 other girls while you're dating, I just never happened to come across one back when I was in the game. I just find it interesting that I've been in a really healthy relationship for awhile now with someone who is over 6 feet tall.

Many amazing relationships have happened between all different types of people, no matter the height. It's just if you are having problems with boys who are under 6 feet, you may have some thinking to do.


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