Have a knack for open mic performances? Want to get involved in fun activities to celebrate Black History Month? Be blacked out! Blacked Out is hosted by the Poetry Club and will take place Thursday, Feb. 22 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Cougars Den in the Miron Student Center (MSC).
The purpose of Blacked Out is to bring awareness to black culture and to learn in a fun and playful way through various activities such as giveaways, games and more.
It is important to create a platform for the African American community through means of communication. The Poetry Club believes that people should be comfortable and have the opportunity to share their beliefs, concerns and experiences.
The Poetry Club also seeks to put an emphasis on the beauty of black culture in times where injustices take place. Students and guests can look forward to a moment of social exchange with other people and the opportunity to send and receive information as well.
Tierra Hooker, president of the Poetry Club, explained that the Blacked Out event was developed among herself, vice president of the Poetry Club Chidinma Opara and member Ymani Hawkins.
"We all usually run ideas by each other and Blacked Out was one of those that stuck out. After developing what it would entail and how we'd conduct the event, we proposed it to our other group board members. The event was then presented to Student Organization and approved for funding on their behalf," said Hooker.
"Blacked Out was created to highlight and celebrate black culture through art, product and conversation. It was something that has not been done at Kean and The Poetry Club is composed of individuals who are creative, passionate and cultural. We wanted to elaborate on the identity of the community and how the arts are intensely influenced by black culture."
This event serves as a platform for networking among creative individuals and helps to spread awareness of concerns and beliefs regarding the African American community. Although this is a focus, the event is not limited to only African Americans because Blacked Out welcomes everyone interested in the black culture.
"Blacked Out welcomes all of those who breathe, are interested in black culture, express concerns with social injustices, identify as a minority or person of color, and stand with equality or against injustice. As previously mentioned, there will be giveaways not limited to natural hair and face products, but trust me there's a lot more!" Hooker mentioned.
With every event there is a message. Blacked Out aims to manifest self love, support and information on cultural background. They also want to spread hope for the future of African Americans and to end ignorance toward culture and those of African American descent.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." -1994, Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
The club's goal is to build an audience who stays engaged. To project that goal, they have created a panel of Kean University students who will answer and address questions about:
- mental health
- social injustice
- physical appearance
- emotional esteem
This panel was suggested as a means to highlight the event's core values, which are understanding, being aware, and appreciating oneself.
The Poetry Club wants students to be blown away in black culture, self love and artistic expression. Lastly, expect the chance to win prizes.
The Poetry Club's mission statement: "The Poetry Club is composed of poets, MCs, singers, musicians and artists who aspire to utilize their voices as a form of art and a way to make a difference, as well as expressing their appreciation towards creativity."
This safe space serves as a way to explore artistic growth, express craft and expand networks. The event's aim is not only to unite strengths within the poetry community but also in cultural, social justice and academic interests.
For more information, students can visit kean.campuslabs.com and search "Poetry Club".
Don't forget, be blacked out!