By Aedan Richter | Staff Writer
Crowds of people showed up Thursday, March 8, filling the Soda Center, to experience the 15th Annual Expression of Blackness (EOB). This event asked for a fee of $4 for admission, a small price for a catered meal and an hour and a half of entertainment. While the EOB was entertaining, it was also educational.
It was a space for the black students at Saint Mary’s to artistically express themselves. Sometimes in felicitous ways and others in solemnity.
It was very clear that a lot of time and effort was put into this event. There were twelve performances, and the more sobering performances were mixed up with some more lighthearted acts. After an hour of eating, the performances started off with a short video of Saint Mary’s alumni discussing what EOB meant to them during their time on campus.
This was followed by senior, Jewelisa Harrison, singing a duet with her mother. Harrison also read a poem she had written on entitled “Mothers” and ended on a high note by saying that this spring, she would be walking the graduation stage in honor of all black mothers, which elicited many cheers from the crowd.
Another speaker was sophomore, Sihin Tsegay, who talked about the monsters she faced as a child and the very different ones she now faces as an adult.
This was followed up by a speech from Taylor Broudy, who read an eloquently worded letter to College administrators discussing her inhumane treatment at the beginning of freshman year and how she truly felt unsafe on campus.
Once the letter was read, she gave a poignant call for her students to practice action speech. One of the attendees, Marissa Thompson, said, “I’d seen her [Taylor] around on campus and always wondered why she was in a boot. It made me really sad to find out why.” All in all, Thompson said, “It was very moving and powerful, and I would definitely go again now that I know it’s a thing.”
This portion was followed by slides of tweets with the hashtag “#growingupblack” that defused the tension in the room, eliciting many laughs.
Another laugh-out-loud moment was a video created by senior Nakia Gibbs’ dad listening to music and dancing around. The Cupid Shuffle was involved, and it all eventually turned into a dance battle between father and son which had the crowd roaring with laughter.
A choir of four girls sang two different songs harmonizing their voices. The two other musical numbers were, “Beautiful,” sung by Rachel Hartley, and a spoken word piece that ended in a song.
The last performance was a dance with several girls, including Uchechi Nnachi. Nnachi commented, “I felt like last year was amazing, but this year was a lot better because we had a lot more people involved in the performances and a lot more people came out to support the night, which I appreciated.”
Not having performed the previous year, Nnachi was nervous to be in the spotlight this year, but she had the support of many, resulting in her feeling more relaxed and at ease. Her favorite part of the whole process was, “being with the people I performed with.” Nnachi continued, “It was a lot of fun practicing with them.”
Another part of the performances was a short preview of a video, directed by Nakia Gibbs, who interviewed black women on campus.
The video was titled, “She’s My Sister,” and featured many shared experiences the girls had involving their hair, and how their features are turned into fetishes by pop culture, along with other several other similar observations.
Gibbs ended the preview by saying that she believes she’s set out to change the world. It seems like all of the EOB performers are ready and willing to do so.