Sports & Rec Editor
Not to be confused with the #WeMatterMessiah movement, the Black Student Union put on a two-night event this past weekend to celebrate Black History Month. Thursday included a Career and Professional Development seminar for students of color, and on Friday night students were able to showcase their skills in the #WeMatter Showcase.
The Thursday night seminar in Boyer Atrium included students of all races. The night featured four speakers, all of whom are Messiah alums: Titus Brown, assistant vice president at Wells Fargo, Christina Thomas, a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Elizabeth Arias, an admissions counselor here at Messiah, and Henry Johnson, a youth pastor at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ.
“It was an opportunity to give students of color skills to market themselves and maneuver in the real world,” BSU Vice President Esther Rosier said.
“A lot of what they said was comforting, but also a fair warning,” Rosier continued. “Life is hard; there is no cookie cutter road to achieving your dream. But trust in God, and He will make your crooked paths straight.”
On Friday night, the #WeMatter showcase included several familiar faces as students served as the opening acts for the featured performer, Christon Gray. These acts included songs, an original rap, spoken word, and a performance from Eastern University’s “Blaze” step team.
Opening act Virgil Angeles saw Gray in 2013 and was excited to perform his original rap for his idol. “It was an amazing opportunity to open for someone who has inspired me,” Angeles said.
Dorant Wells and Lydia Samuels, who have both performed at Coffeehouses before, were also featured opening acts.
According to those in attendance, Wells and Samuels stole the show with their abilities. “She’s so naturally talented; her voice is just so natural,” junior Mattie Shepley said of Samuels.
During the opening acts, Rosier involved the crowd in some black history trivia. She asked questions about prominent black history figures such as Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
The event culminated in Gray’s second appearance at Messiah. Gray first performed at Messiah for a B-sides concert on October 12. However, his second time around attracted many more fans.
“I had heard of Gray through his features on songs with Lecrae and other Christian artists, and I heard some of his songs,” first-year Josh Darville said.
Rosier thought bringing Gray back would be a good idea because “we wanted someone the campus was familiar enough with that they could sing along and not be bored of his performance.”
Rosier also noted his cool and relaxed performing style. Many of those in attendance loved the way he interacted with the crowd. Gray invited attendees on stage during his song “Open Door,” and came down into the crowd during the song as well.
Overall, Rosier and BSU were pleased with the way the weekend went. “I think it went extremely well,” Rosier said.
To see more photos from the event, check out the Pulse’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
This story was updated on 2/12/17 at 10:37 p.m. to reflect Hank Johnson’s position as youth pastor at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ.