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All Black Everything spotlights Harlem Renaissance culture

by Jaymi Gooden - Campus Talk
Tue, Feb 28th 2017 10:30 pm
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The Organization for Students of African Descent held its 5th annual All Black Everything event on Saturday, Feb. 26,  in the Seymour College Union Ballroom at The College at Brockport. 

More than 150 students flooded into the room as doors opened at 7 p.m., making red carpet-style appearances, dressed in all-black attire. The men, most in elegant, dark suits and women in chic dresses and other formal wear, gathered together to carry on the 49-year-old tradition of celebrating black culture on the Brockport campus. This year's theme: Harlem Renaissance.

The show opened with senior Julian Moody playing the saxophone and the women of the club's executive board performing "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.

The event's theme as Harlem Renaissance was chosen to "portray the rebirth of African American culture," OSAD president Shanelle Hodge said.

The All Black Everything affair was created by the organization's former president, James McDonald in 2012 as a means of showcasing different aspects of African culture. Performances at this year's event included singing, stepping, dancing and spoken word. 

"This is us going back to our roots," OSAD Vice President Paul Wayans said.

E-board members also made an on-stage appearance in an attempt to familiarize themselves with students, while reflecting on and sending out messages of positivity and hope. 

Other prominent appearances included Association of Latino American Students President Chris Rivera and Men of Color President Olu Gbajumo. 

"We try to do everything we can to stay involved," Events Coordinator Arlyn Lleras said. "We also work with as many culture clubs on campus as possible, depending on who reaches out."

OSAD joined Men of Color in the Solidarity Walk on campus earlier in the Fall 2016 semester to promote the importance of unity and embracement of all students on the  college campus. In addition to collaborating with other clubs, OSAD holds general body meetings in which they tackle current political issues as well as problems of inclusivity at Brockport.

"Outside of culture clubs, other organizations on campus should try to help in diversifying the campus," Hodge said. "We need their help in educating students, not just students of a minority [group], but all students in general."

Hodge, a senior, urges incoming freshmen and minority students to get involved with OSAD. 

Wayans agreed.

"Don't only get involved with OSAD," Wayans said. "Get to know some of the higher figures on campus. They're great in times of trauma so make sure you're in the vicinity when it's time to utilize those connections."

Wayans, Lleras and Hodge insist that connections made between students and faculty are crucial in times of stress or uncertainty. One example is the political and racial divide present at Brockport earlier in the academic year.

"If anything is embedded in our constitution," Lleras said. "It's that OSAD is about community. Community work, community service and community atmosphere so know your community by staying active and aware."

All Black Everything lasted until 10 p.m. and afterward, students hung around to take professional pictures and engage in conversation about community. 

Wayans hopes to continue the conversation next year, as OSAD gears up for their 50th anniversary and he takes the reins as the organizations president.




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