The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Month-long celebration of Black art: “For Us by Us” kicks off at the HUB Cultural Center

    SSU will emphasize Black Art throughout February
    Ernesto Macias
    SSU President Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee spoke at the opening ceremony for Black History Month

    On Feb. 1, The Black Student Union held an opening ceremony for Black History Month, kicking off a month of events celebrating Black art on campus. The theme of the month is Black Art: For Us By Us or FUBU. 

    The event took place at the HUB cultural center from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. SSU President Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, Tramaine Austin-Dillon, manager of Diversity Equity Inclusion Programs and Initiatives, Dr. Patrick Johnson, assistant professor in American multicultural studies, and Tia Booker, the HUB student assistant and BSU liaison all spoke at the event. Following the ceremony, Red Rose Catering, a black-owned local catering company, provided lunch. 

    “Today we hope that you’re able to learn something or walk away with something exciting, for this is Black History Month and the theme this year is Black Art: For Us By Us,” said Austin-Dillon. “Blackness is in every aspect of the culture that we all consume and we are going to be celebrating that all month,” he said.  

    Johnson gave his thoughts about Black Art. He said art is passed down through generations and each generation then builds traditions of their own. This cycle is continued which is why traditions within black culture are intergenerational. He then explains that when people are allowed to counter negative representations and do what brings them joy, they find freedom.

    “Some of us find joy and pleasure in things that if we weren’t as worried about what other people think about us, in our enjoyment of that, we would be free,” said Johnson.

    Austin-Dillion said that black history month is for everybody, but should be done so respectfully. “Hopefully every day you’re acknowledging black history in some way, you’re reading about it, asking good questions, and experiencing it but also not taking it over If you’re not in that culture,” Austin-Dillon said.

    “A lot of people don’t know that a lot of the music and trends that are popular now come from black history,” said Taneesha Porter, a senior sociology and women’s student major. According to Porter black art and culture are ingrained in American culture, but are often overlooked. “Even a lot of the slang that we use nowadays isn’t slang, it’s very much African American English,” said Chance Lujan, a third-year history major. “People use ‘Slay’ and ‘yas queen’ but refuse to acknowledge their background and how they use words incorrectly.” 

    According to Austin-Dillon, some people celebrate BHM only for a month, but it should be remembered every day of the year. “I’m black 365 and I live my blackness out loud every day, but I acknowledge that this is the one time a year we get to unapologetically say this is our history, this is who we are, and this is how we helped shape society,” said Austin-Dillon.

    Some more events being hosted at SSU include the 2nd Annual Black Joy Celebration on Feb. 15, Social Justice In Action: The Artistry Of Nipsey Hussle on Feb. 22, the 7th Annual Black Joy Parade on Feb 25, and Black History Month- Existence Through Art: The Celebration Continues on Feb. 29.


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    About the Contributor
    Ernesto Macias, Staff Writer
    Ernesto Macias is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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