The Multicultural Student Service Office held its final Black History Month event, “Perspectives,” in the Wilkinson Student Center Friday, Feb. 27.
“Perspectives” has been held annually for the past five years. This event allowed students to share the richness and diversity that exist among and within various black cultures.
Students shared their talents and culture through art, lyrical performances, poems, dance and step. Former BYU student and participant Brent Kamba said this year’s attendance has been the largest he’s seen since it started.
“It always feels good when someone appreciates your culture and shows support for it,” Kamba said. He was formerly involved with the Black Student Union as its vice-president and said there are always new cultures to learn within the black culture.
Kamba is also the drum instructor for the Asante Dance and Drum group. He said this nonprofit group was organized by mothers who adopted children from Africa and wanted to help them preserve their heritage.
He said it was fun to come back to BYU and bring his drumming students along. “I’d like to see it keep growing and become a bigger part of BYU,” Kamba said.
For BYU senior Bethany Cherry, the “Perspectives” event helped her express herself. Cherry shared her poem entitled “Listen To My Voice.” She said her inspiration for writing poems comes from thinking about experiences she has had being a minority in Utah.
“It is neat to have this ‘Perspectives’ event because everyone has their own different story,” Cherry said. “There is not just one right take in black culture. Everyone has experienced different things that have influenced their outlook.”
She said it was an awesome experience being around so many people who were excited to share their culture. “Not only Blacks, but Asians, Polynesians, Caucasians and Hispanics were involved and open to share in this cultural experience,” Cherry said.
This was her fourth year in attendance, and Cherry said she had never seen so many people attend before. She credits the success of the event to the preparation that went into it.
Cultural Programs Assistant MJ Naval said he loved being a part of planning and being involved with the different cultural programs.
“I’ve been lucky to learn about more cultures and people through planning and running the events. I might have not gotten as involved had I not had this job,” Naval said. “I hope that, mainly, people walk away knowing there is more diversity here than we often see.”
This event served as a melting pot to bring other cultures together. “While it was a Black History Month event, the different acts came from different cultures, and the audience was all from different backgrounds. Yet we were all there learning about and showing appreciation specifically for Black culture,” Naval said.
He hopes in the future that “Perspectives” can evolve to the same size as other multicultural events like Lu’au and Fiesta to help teach BYU students about different cultures.
There were many performances that enhanced the cultural experience of the audience. Student Nick Tiafala thought of his mission as he enjoyed the dances and music. Tiafala served his mission in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. He said it was a developing nation with no paved streets and people would always play music as they passed.
“I am glad that BYU has ‘Perspectives’ so that people can know more about cultures that they haven’t seen or heard. They can see things from a different view,” Tiafala said.