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The Daily Tar Heel

BSM Kicks Off Black History Month With Jamboree

An array of entertainers in subgroups of the Black Student Movement expressed black culture through song, dance and drama at the organization's first jamboree Friday.

The event, which took place in the Great Hall of the Student Union, kicked off Black History Month festivities to be sponsored by the BSM.

"A lot of black history is centered around culture and our subgroups are a very good representative of black culture," said BSM President Tyra Moore.

Performances included music from the BSM Gospel Choir, dancing by the Opeyo! Dancers and a mix of traditional music and R&B sung by the group Harmonyx.

Dr. Valerie Kaalund, professor in the African and Afro-American studies department, encouraged the audience to celebrate black history and get involved in activities during the upcoming month.

"Think during this kickoff of what you can do to educate yourself and others about the importance of blacks in America, and then take it a step further," Kaalund said. "How are we connected to other groups and other people, because our history is not one of singularity."

BSM Vice President Jokena Smith and BSM Central Committee for Fund Raising member Lattice Deaver organized the jamboree and helped create the theme "Celebrating History Through Performance."

Smith said singing, dancing and poetry are modes of communication and expression that are important to black culture. "The main purpose was to display our culture through performance," she said.

Smith said the idea of holding a jamboree to start Black History Month off with a bang arose earlier this semester.

Sophomore Latrina Wilson, who attended the event and performed with the BSM Gospel Choir, said the festivities were important to her heritage.

"I feel like since February is the only month we have to celebrate black history, it would be good to come to the kickoff," she said. "It is a new beginning."

Many events will follow this month in celebration of Black History Month.

Every Friday, the BSM will be featuring campus tours focusing on the contributions of blacks to the University community, Smith said.

She also said members of the BSM will be visiting local middle schools and high schools to educate students about names, concepts and ideas important to black culture.

Kaalund urged others to view the jamboree as a catalyst for year-round celebration of African heritage both in the University community and worldwide.

"I want you to think of Black History Month as an opportunity to improve and educate yourself and pass it on to others," she said. "Think of it as an opportunity to remember."


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