Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month is an annual observed time in the month of February for remembrance of important people and events in history. At BC, a series of events have been set up for the campus to attend that include talks, game shows, dancing and singing to African drums, comedy and a closeout party.
On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Office of Equity and Pluralism, African Student Association, High School Programs and the Pacific Northwest Council on Black American Affairs will be holding an event with drums and singing with Michael Dudley, Marlette Buchanan and Amy Boers who will be singing “Porgy and Bess’s” spirituals in room N201, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., followed by the ASA playing the drums from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Victor Houssa, Vice President of ASA said there will be a song from South Africa commemorating Nelson Mandela.
Tradon Jordan, Black Student Union spring events manager, says, “this is where our history came from,” referring to the drumming that the ASA will be doing in their opening act. “A lot of Black history is derived from African culture. This is where all this music came from, and this is what we’ve done with it as time has passed and progressed.”
Another event is being held on Feb. 11 by the Black Students Association on the cafeteria stage called Afternoon at the Apollo. Jordan says this will be similar to the Apollo Theatre in New York and any BC student can showcase their talent.
Taylor Johnson, BSU Winter Events Coordinator, says this is open to all BC students and people have already signed up.
On Thursday, Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., the BSU will be holding a game show called Black History Jeopardy with a round table discussion on racism. Students can sign up as individuals or in groups. They will be answering a series of questions and can even win a prize. There will also be questions and answers at the round table.
Jordan says, “at the end of the day it’s all about people understanding black history, it’s not about who wins. Yes, we celebrate the people who are black in February otherwise we don’t celebrate them but its raising awareness that we are Americans, too, and everyone American should be proud of black history because it is American history.”
Recently Zawdie Terry, president of the Associated Student Government, said at BSU’s Opening Black History Month ceremony that Black History is American History and encouraged people to not make a separation.
On Wednesday Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the cafeteria stage BSU will also be holding an event called Black History Spoken Word, with poems centered on black history. “We’re encouraging people to stand up and speak, it’s another media of getting that message out to people,” said Jordan.
Another BSU event will be on Monday, Feb. 24 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. called the Magic Comedy Show, held on the cafeteria stage. A surprise guest who is not only a magician but also a comedian will be here, and Johnson says “apparently nobody is safe.”
“Part of getting him to do it for free was that he has free reign to crack any kind of joke about the board of directors and BSU, or talk about us however way he wants to. That’s the deal!” says Jordan.
Jordan says African Americans played a part in the comedy scene and that there are a lot of famous African-American magicians, so BSU wants to shed light on that, “especially the magician aspect, because people know black people are funny. There’s Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, Bill Cosby.” Jordan also says that they want to shed light on the fact that Black History Month is not all just learning about African-American history, but that it should be fun yet educational at the same time.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in C120 A and B, BSU is holding “Blue Lights in the Basement”. During the Jim Crow era, African-Americans weren’t allowed in nightclubs, and in response to that, people held house parties in their basement and would change out their light bulbs for blue ones and have a party with drinks, played music and danced. Jordan said it was how they had “a good time,” when everything was limited.
“You can’t understand a culture unless you’ve experienced it. We want to give people a chance to understand why all black people can dance and why our culture is so rhythmic. It’s because of the history behind the parties that used to be held and how people of color would come together and dance all the same way and having a good time. We’re really big on community.” Houssa says on Feb. 26 the ASA will also be having a presentation on Africa’s present and future and the developments in their country. Houssa said this event will show “what the western news won’t show that is happening in the African countries.” Houssa also says more information is on the Facebook page, African Student Association of Bellevue College.
The last event will be a dunk contest held in the gym at 11:30 a.m. during open gym time on Friday, Feb. 28, where the basketball team will come out to ‘dunk the ball’ with students. “That NBA that you see today would not have been possible without Black athletes adding the [flair] and making this sport exciting. We want to pay homage to that at BC and at the same time raise awareness to the basketball team here at BC,” says Jordan.
There will be another dunk contest earlier in the month. The date will either be Feb. 12 or Feb. 19 on the quad area in front of the cafeteria at 11:30 a.m.