By Jada Butler
The Black Student Union (BSU) held their fourth annual Black Excellence Gala on Friday, Feb. 15, in the Tilles Center Atrium. The gala is a black tie affair held every year during black history month and features vendors, food, raffles, a DJ, and live entertainment. This year, all funds raised from ticket sales and the raffles benefited the Brotherhood Sister Sol organization, an evidence-based organization that provides educational programming, training, and organizing for social change.
This year was the first time the gala was hosted in Tilles. The first year the gala was in the Gold Coast Cinema in Hillwood Commons, and the second and third years it was held in what is now the Krasnoff Theater. Students, faculty, administrators and community guests were invited to dress their best and spend a night celebrating black excellence.
In the first hour of the gala, guests were able to visit the vendors. Most of the vendors were from black-owned businesses, including Black Dove Apparel, Mainly Beauty, It’s All Love apparel based in the Bronx, Parauma Potions, Differeynt Apparel, VMG Photo freelance photography by photography major Vanessa Gardner, Haiti Rocks apparel, Charmaine Mischel Couture and Ardent Candle Company.
BSU president and junior adolescent education major, Catrina Dasque, said it was important to support black-owned businesses. “When black businesses succeed, black people succeed,” she said.
Students put together acts to portray members of the black community who represent black excellence. These acts included spoken word, dances, and musical performances. Guests had to guess the figure the acts represented. Among the figures of black excellence represented were Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, MLK Jr., Madam C.J. Walker, Maya Angelou, Nat King Cole and a few others.
Dasque said the acts were a critical part of the night. “We go to a predominantly white school, and us minorities have to stick together. That comes with knowing your history,” Dasque said.
The guests were very involved in the acts, cheering, clapping, hollering and snapping as students who had prepared weeks in advance performed for them. BSU vice president and junior public relations major, performed readings of two poems by Maya Angelou.
BSU meets every Tuesday during common hour in Hillwood Commons room 221. The club meetings are open for students of every background to attend. For more information on BSU events, students can follow their instagram @liupostbsu.