Black History Month originated as a week-long February event designed to encompass both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. Since then, the nation has declared the month of February as “Black History Month.” The idea came from historian Carter Woodsen in order to give African Americans the recognition they deserve. It has evolved into a celebration of Black culture and talent, allowing people and colleges across the country to pay African Americans that much deserved recognition.
College of Charleston celebrates Black History Month by providing activities and informational session. Sunday, Feb. 26, students found themselves in TD Arena’s hospitality suite to attend Rhapsody in Black, a semiformal event hosted by the College’s Black Student Union.
Tables covered in black silk topped off with candles lined the walls, complete with a buffet of decadent hors d’oeurvres. Light music provided a soothing backdrop as smiling faces greeted individuals dressed in their formal best, adding even more class to the already carefully put together event. As the night rolled on, each performer took the floor with heavy support from the crowd. Poems were slammed, ballads were sung, raps were performed, and a final dance to end the night elicited a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Black Student Union completely organized the well-attended event. Radio host and Homecoming Queen Alexis Amour emceed the night, interacting with the audience to keep attendees involved. Rhapsody in Black was all about embracing Black culture and excellence, and that it did. Songs about Black pride, despite lack of recognition, resonated with the crowd. Each guest cheered and snapped in support to the performances.
Lionne took the floor to sing a ballad on the beauty of women of color. Within his dedication, Lionne reminded the audience that women of color are just as beautiful as everyone else and that they deserve to be told so. The event was not just about recognizing Black culture and excellence, but was an opportunity to spread love and to remind everyone to love themselves the way they are.
Culture is a relative term. Everyone has a different definition of culture, their own typically being the one that fits their own familial history. Black culture pertains rich history and importance that Americans often gloss over. Sitting in the hospitality suite allowed audience members less knowledgable about Black culture to delve into its history and origins, forgetting their own for a night to celebrate another.
The word rhapsody is defined as an effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling. Expressions of feeling proved to be abundant. Every performer put their heart and soul into their performances. Every guest lent their support and enthusiasm into each of these expressions. The celebration could be felt between strangers as the purpose of the night united everyone in celebration. “All this Black culture and excellence is breathtaking,” Amour exclaimed as the night came to a close. Black culture and excellence deserves more than a month to be celebrated, and the powerful expression felt at Rhapsody in Black proved that its celebration transcends just a month out of the year.