Continuing the events to celebrate Black History Month, the Black Student Union held its second annual We Matter Showcase on Saturday. The event aimed to display the talent of minority students at Messiah and spread awareness of the month’s importance.
“The We Matter Showcase is supposed to showcase people’s talents but also bring awareness to what is happening within Black History Month,” BSU Cabinet member Tazia Rice said.
BSU President Esther Rosier functioned as the emcee for the event. She introduced performers, engaged the audience with Black History Month trivia and provided personal anecdotes.
“I didn’t have a script, they told me to go up and do whatever, and that’s what you got tonight,” Rosier said.
Acts varied from spoken word poetry to musical performances. Junior Horacia Carryl opened the show, reciting original poems surrounding themes like the history of lynching, sexualization of black men and women and making children into adults at a young age.
“I spent a lot of time reflecting on the black experience this past week since it is Black History Month,” Carryl said. “They’re not only my experiences but my friends’ experiences― just all the things we’ve gone through here, but also in life.”
Followed by Carryl’s poetry was a song entitled “All We Know” by Junior Dorant Wells and First-Year Christian Davis. Next came a traditional Rwandan dance by Senior Keza Nzisabira and other BSU members. The dancers donned traditional outfits for the performance.
“Esther asked us if we could dance something from Africa because that’s where black people are from…” said Nzisabira. “She wanted to get connected back to our roots.” They performed a traditional dance called Amarebe.
First-Year students Nihal Andrews and Ashley Mathew performed a rendition of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone.” The words of the original song were changed to fit the theme of the event.
After a short intermission, Junior Sarah Harris made John Legend’s “Glory” into a poem, and sang a mashup of “Freedom” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.”
“I hope that through this poem, we would channel and respect what our ancestors and elders did for us, and get a vision for the future and go forward with this clearer vision,” said Harris.
First-Year Maegan Negron sang an original song that told of her struggle with depression, a subject she said is not talked about enough. Senior Rey Colon concluded the student talent also with an original song, inviting the audience to stand and dance along.
“Let’s not wait for the world to tell us why we matter,” Colon said.
When the audience thought the show was over, the BSU members surprised the crowd with a dance performance to Bruno Mars’ “Finesse.” The group recreated the routine from the official music video.
Rosier and BSU hope that holding the various events across the course of Black History Month will connect with the student body and teach them about black culture in America.
“The point of the We Matter Showcase is not just for [BSU] but for everyone to tap into [African Americans’] perspectives,” said Rice.
“It’s a way to bridge gaps. If you see us up here, and I look more familiar, then I feel like it would be a better way to bridge that gap later on,” said Rosier. “Don’t feel afraid to come up to me and say ‘hey.’”
The We Matter Showcase brought students together for a night of sharing talents and learning more about the diversity on campus.