Arts & Entertainment

Black History Month at KU

By Nichole Schleihauf,
Arts & Entertainment Editor

For those looking to celebrate Black culture, KU has plenty of Black History Month events to support!

From Feb. 22 to 24, the Multicultural Center will be teaming up with a few other organizations around campus, local businesses and guest speakers to present their annual Ujima Conference. 

Flyer for Celebrating Black and Queer artists!
Credit: Vincent Lattanzi

On Tuesday Feb. 22 at 11 a.m., Philip Brashear, Chief Warrant Officer 5 in the Army Reserve, will speak on his 38-year experience as a Black man in the military. In addition, CW5 Brashear is one of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear’s sons, who inspired parts of the film “Men of Honor.” This event is co-sponsored by the KU Veterans Center.

Later in the evening, KU Wellbeing will assist in offering men’s haircuts (RSVP on Engage), female braiding and styling (RSVP), manicures (RSVP), paraffin wax, family potluck, make your own mindfulness boards and make your own body mist. This will all be held on the second floor of the Recreation Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, the Multicultural Center will hold a discussion on breaking the generational curse in Black culture over lunch at 12 p.m., as well as Slam Poetry centered around Black history at 6 p.m. in the MCC’s Unity Room.

The guest speaker for the day is Traciana Graves, leadership development coach and founder of the VLN network. She focuses on creating hope, celebrating everyone’s dreams and highlighting stories of unsung Black heroes to contrast mainstream media’s portrayal of Black men and women. This event will be held in the Alumni Auditorium at 7 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the KU Activities Board and Office of Student Involvement.

The Ujima Conference will end with its Keynote speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, award winning author, producer and educator. Following in the footsteps of her father, Malcolm X, she has done extensive work in developing diversity, equity and inclusion. This is a co-sponsored event through the Dr. Constance P. Dent and Dr. Ann T. Gundry Distinguished Speaker Series in collaboration with the KU Women’s Center and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

While Black History Month only lasts 28 days, there are ways to support diversity and Black individuals all year! Foremost, look no further than the community; discover some of the clubs around campus that emphasize inclusion. 

Unsure where to start? “13th” is a film streaming on Netflix, which discusses the ways in which slavery never really ended. The book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander also goes into further depth on the topic. The 1619 Project by the New York Times and Code Switch by NPR are some thought-provoking podcasts to listen to on the way to class.

Black culture has affected America tremendously and shaped how it has become the place it is today. Make sure the appreciation and support of Black individuals spans the whole year.