African American art and culture

Published by Hope Hoehler, Author: Hope Hoehler - Assistant Campus Life Editor, Date: April 18, 2019
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Community member, Meleik Lunsford shoes off his custom shoe designs at the Black Arts Festival.

The Black Action Society (BAS) hosted the Black Arts Festival, cosponsored by the Student Union for Multicultural Affairs (SUMA) Tuesday afternoon in celebration of art and artists representing African American culture.

Those attending the Black Arts Festival found artists, poetry, food, a caricaturist, photo booth and a performance from the Rock Royalty step team.

Taron Polk, junior marketing major, management minor and President of BAS, said that the Black Arts Festival is an opportunity for students to display cultural aspects.

According to Polk, BAS reached out to artists they knew represented African American culture. In past years, Polk said that BAS used to have a sign-up method, or a post on social media where those who wanted to participate could write their name and information.

“If the students are artists themselves, I hope they get inspired to go home and do a painting or write a poem,” Polk said. “I hope they understand the cultural aspect of it and get a little inspiration and do a little more research into what black art actually is.”

BAS is not solely for black students Anaya Jackson said. Jackson, a sophomore dance major and public relations chair said that BAS is a community.”Anything is for you,” Jackson said. “There is no separation. BAS is not just for black students, it’s to combine everyone.”

Jackson said that the point of the Black Arts Festival was to not only showcase artwork and poetry created by black students, but to showcase artists who may not be black, yet their art embodies black culture.

Lauren Greggs, a graduate student and the advisor for BAS, hopes that people attending the Black Arts Festival leave feeling educated. Greggs has been the advisor for two years and, as a graduate student, is on her last year as advisor.”To me, BAS is family,” Greggs said.

Greggs encourages all students to come out for BAS general body meetings which are held every other Thursday.

“BAS is here to share the African American experience on a predominantly white campus,” Greggs said. “Come out, it’s for anyone. We are inclusive for all students. Try to get out of your comfort zone.”

Jackson hopes that students on campus realize that BAS has a lot to offer and that students shouldn’t be afraid to make connections.

Polk agreed that BAS is an all-inclusive family and that it was the first organization he joined as a freshman.

“When I started here as a freshman, I was very shy and introverted,” Polk said. “Black Action Society has always felt like home.”

BAS hosted an abundance of events, primarily in February, to celebrate Black History Month, but they also host the Homecoming party, Kwanza in December and a cookout at the beginning and the end of the academic year. BAS will host their end of the year cookout at the beginning of May in the quad.

To learn more about BAS and to keep updated on their events, follow them on Twitter and Instagram @BASSRU.

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