Recently, a video went viral on YouTube illustrating a lack of awareness about Black History Month. The video was created by a comedian who went to Brigham Young University and asked its students about Black History Month.
The white interviewer painted his face black and asked students questions such as, “When is Black History month?” Many of the answers the students gave were incorrect. This video led to an event that occurred on Friday.
The event’s purpose was to teach students more about black history, what it is and why it is important in today’s society. The event started off by showing the comedian’s YouTube video.
After watching the video, people were invited up to the podium to share their own views on what Black History Month was about.
“I think why we should keep celebrating Black History Month and keep commemorating and keep it fresh in our memories so history doesn’t repeat itself,” said Quincie Brown. “Also I think it’s for honoring the people who sacrificed and just really put themselves out there and fought for everything they believed…so I can go to school where you go to school. It’s called Black History Month, but to me, it’s so much more than that. It’s for everybody, every race.”
Brown later did an unplanned performance singing “Amazing Grace.”
The event had eleven performances including rap, dance and singing. One performance was by three students from Utah State University who performed two African dances. Ami Meite, Changwe Ngosa and Izzy Beyene are all originally from different parts of Africa.
“It’s a big part of African culture,” Ngosa said about dancing.
They have all been dancing all their lives but only recently started dancing as a group.
“It’s a good way to share our culture,” Meite said.
Another performer was Amir Jackson who sings R&B and gospel music. He performed two songs. One of them was a combination of a song he wrote and the song “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t want to be Right.” He also talked about an organization he runs called Nurture the Creative Mind.
“It’s a youth based organization partnering creativity with education to develop character development for youth in the community,” Jackson said.
The organization has so far helped 3,500 students. Jackson is a Weber State University student and has recently been nominated for the Crystal Crest Man of the Year award.
Sandy Valentine, who attended the event, said, “I have an adopted daughter who’s black and has just returned from New York, and I wanted to support her.”
Valentine said she found it surprising how many people were unaware of Black History Month after watching the YouTube video. She also said her favorite part was seeing the African dance performed.
“[Black History Month] is about expression,” said Maurice Crichlo, the organizer of the event. “It’s about a culture’s expression. It’s about how Martin Luther King and Malcom X and all the greats from Michael Jackson to Jay-Z come out and express themselves and give us a voice in America.”