The Racialised Students’ Collective held its first Black History Month event of the month on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Student Campus Centre. These Words of Mine is a showcase celebrating black excellence through various forms of art. Local artists expressed themselves through poetry, original songs, music and spoken word.
The event was open to the general public and to students. Artists performed pieces revolving around blackness, love, poverty, community, liberation and oppression.
“It’s a time where people can focus more on blackness and the contribution that black folks make to society, whether it’s to Canada or the world,” says Cassandra Fullwood, a co-ordinator at the collective. “It’s a month for black folks to see the celebration of our blackness and how great we can be.”
But, according to those at the event, the significance of spoken word goes beyond just creating an entertaining environment.
“Orally, this is how black folks have been communicating for years,” says Shaquille Bulhi, a co-ordinator at the collective. “But not only that, it’s going to be performances. I’m really excited that these folks wanted to be a part of this and that we’re putting this event on.”
Although this is just one of the many events this month, some of the participants feel that this is something that they celebrate every day, not one month out of the year.
“Black History Month is every day for me,” says Kareem Bennett. “I can’t relegate my history to a month and I can’t limit it to a month in order to embrace it. I couldn’t be able to do that … just within a month.” Bennett went on to perform poetry about his childhood, poverty, violence, oppression and racial oppression. He explains that blending these topics through art allows people to understand his story.
Dae the Poet says the general public lacks awareness when it comes to Black History Month. “I don’t think they understand the details, they’re thinking people were beaten and enslaved and not paid for their work,” says Dae. “But I don’t think [they] understand the generational impact that era in time had upon us to this day.”