House of Black Culture features art, music from diverse African cultures

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Freshman Valerie Francillon performs during the House of Black Culture event Thursday evening in the Activities Room of the Shalala Student Center. Evelyn Choi // Staff Photographer

Freshman Valerie Francillon performs during the House of Black Culture event Thursday evening in the Activities Room of the Shalala Student Center. Evelyn Choi // Staff Photographer

variety of cultures from the African diaspora were celebrated Thursday night as part of House of Black Culture, deviating from past years when the focus was on African-American culture.

Every February, the University of Miami’s United Black Students (UBS) hosts a number of events during Black Awareness Month, commonly known as Black History Month. House of Black Culture featured art from black culture around the world, such as songs and plays.

Students from the African Students Union, Planet Kreyol and UBS performed a play that illustrated the different struggles that black people face as well as the strength exhibited through their triumphs.

“House of Black Culture is very unifying. A lot of times people think I’m just black, Caribbean or African,” said Imani Callan, chair of Black Awareness Month. “We all have similar experiences and we all have different experiences. But those different experiences we can bond over, come together and rise up.”

In addition to showcasing the talents unique to each region of the African diaspora, House of Black Culture described the various experiences of black women. The singers reflected the different journeys they have taken.

Chair and Director of House of Black Culture Nigel Richardson assembled a group of four women to sing a rendition of singer-activist Nina Simone’s 1966 song “Four Women.”

“Simone was able to create black female characters with stories that span the many experiences of black women in America and abroad. I thought it was especially important to highlight that for this performance. I believe [the song]is deeply powerful and moving,” Richardson said.

To demonstrate how the lyrics are relatable to people of any ethnicity, the performance featured a singer who was not of African descent.

Raneem Al-Buaijan is a junior from Kuwait who has been a part of UBS since her freshman year and is the current public relations co-chair. Al-Buaijan sang the song of “Sweet Thing,” a woman who was a prostitute, in “Four Women.”

“I feel that any woman can relate to that feeling of, ‘Who am I?’” Al-Buaijan said.

The message of the show was to convey the unity of all people of African descent in the spirit of the South-African philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am who I am because of who we all are.”

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