Harlem Nights Ball ends Black History Month at EWU


Courtesy of the BSU

Members of the Black Student Union pass out flyers, sell t-shirts and enjoy a soul food potluck during their quarterly Soul Food Sunday event. The club chose “Reclaiming Black Excellence” as their theme for black history month and will finish it with a ball.

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

Soothing Jazz and a 1920s aesthetic will soon send students, staff and guests at EWU back in time.

The Black Student Union is hosting the Harlem Nights ball in Hargreaves 201 from 7 to 9 p.m. as their final event to conclude the theme of “Reclaiming Black Excellence” for Black History Month.

“This is the first time that (the) BSU or Africana Studies has ever had the theme ‘Reclaiming Black Excellence’ for their Black History Month,” BSU President Gracia Alzoubeir said.

Just because Black History Month’s theme is ‘Reclaiming Black Excellence’ does not mean that just because the month ends that our black excellence stops.”

— Gracia Alzoubeir, BSU President

Dr. Shari Clarke, vice president of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, was delighted to hear that the ball is Harlem Nights.

“I’m planning to attend and support BSU in this celebration of black culture, focusing on the rich music, culture, art and literature of the period,” Clarke said in an email to The Easterner.

Jazz music will be played throughout the whole event from artists such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and other artists who have made a big difference within the black community to go with Harlem Nights at the ball, according to the BSU’s Treasurer Niaia Ortiz-Cotten and its Events Committee leader Tatyana Jones.

BSU members wanted the theme of the ball to have an impact.

“(The) BSU came up with the theme and it was because we’re tired of having this month we’re supposed to be celebrating our history coming around and the only thing that we celebrate is slavery and oppression, and there’s more to us than that,” Alzoubeir said.

The Harlem Nights ball is celebrating all historical accomplishments and contributions of Black History.

“It’s kind of a celebration of a lot more than one chunk of black history that you know, people only hear about slavery and everything else,” BSU Events Committee member Jasmine Banga said. “We wanted to kind of shift the highlight toward more positive events and more positive lights that the culture has to bring onto campus and everywhere else.”

BSU wanted to highlight a positive image toward celebrating Black History Month with inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance period.

“The Harlem Renaissance was about the rebranding of African Americans and after the Great Migration the African Americans that ended up in Harlem, all of the art and music and literature that came out of the Harlem Renaissance was to create a different image,” BSU Vice President Felicia Muhammad said. “And I felt like that’s what we were kind of going towards with the ‘Reclaiming of Black Excellence’.”

Black History month doesn’t stop BSU from celebrating their Black Excellence or limit it to when they gather in the Africana Studies Lounge or during a meeting.

“Just because Black History Month’s theme is ‘Reclaiming Black Excellence’ does not mean that just because the month ends that our black excellence stops,” Alzoubeir said. “BSU is always celebrating our black excellence each and every day.”

Everyone is invited to the Harlem Nights ball. BSU is hoping to make the Harlem Nights ball their first annual event in conclusion to Black History Month.•