Earlier this month at the Crossroads Black Student Union’s Celebration of Black Arts Explosion, Malaika Pedzayi-Ferguson read her poem, “Black Girl I Write for You,” which includes these lines:
…Truth is I write for the black girls.
For that is what I am and the only experience I can write about to the fullest degree.
I write for the black girls with white music on their playlists
the ones who obsessed over Justin Bieber just like all the other little white girls.
I write for the black girls who kept nothing but bass and trap music going on their phones,
for the ones that got called ghetto and ratchet
the black girls who raised their voices and danced their hearts out
because they knew they could.
they found a music
with your headphones in, I write for you…
This was only one impressive moment in an evening of impressive moments. For the past three years, the Crossroads Black Student Union has organized and presented their Celebration of Black Arts Explosion for one another and for our community as part of Black History Month. This year’s celebration included African-American music, poetry, dance, and invention, among other accomplishments by Crossroads students and others. It was exemplary.
During the event, Faith Gilmore ’19 and Elizabeth Webster ’19, co-presidents, introduced the BSU’s statement of purpose, which they worked together to create this year: “Through our diverse perspectives, individual experiences, and creativity, we will encourage our peers and inspire them to recognize their importance and self-value as African Americans in order to enrich our community.”
The Celebration of Black Arts Explosion certainly is enriching to our community. It’s a generous gift and demonstrative of the leadership of our Black Student Union. Their work to encourage and inspire — “to recognize their importance and self-value as African Americans” — provides a much needed mirror for other students. It also serves as a means to take up space within and push back upon systems that default to whiteness.
I would like to thank all members of the BSU, as well as faculty sponsors Ron Robinson and Kendall Ware, for an inspiring evening, and I encourage each of you to attend this event next year.
With great expectations,