Hamline’s Black Student Collective (BSC) platforms Black art and community at their Feb. 9 celebration.

Sabine Benda, News Reporter

Justice Vue

Passersby through Anderson Center were lured by live music, dancing and snacks to the Black Student Collective’s (BSC) Celebration of Black Art on Feb. 9.  

Both local and Hamline artists were featured performing music, comedy, cheer and poetry, all in the name of celebrating and platforming Black excellence. The performers brought the room to laughs, dances and thoughtful stillness with the array of art. 

Interludes of vulnerability from Hamline student poets Hafsa Ahmed and Paul Isidort, as well as local artist Cyrus, provided attention to social justice issues and personal insights. 

Hamline junior Elmo Glass stirred the room into a fit of laughs with a standup set and gaps in performances were filled by DJ Peaceboy. Piper Cheer kicked off the event, with an empowering, unifying message for the room. 

Sophomore Joe Mason emphasized the importance of events like this one. 

Justice Vue

“Tonight was about [giving] students, Black students especially, the space to be embraced,” Mason said. “Tonight was about love, community and networking.”

Amongst the musical performers of the night was local artist, Mack Ibekwe, stage name Mack OC. He is a University of Minnesota senior and budding artist in the local music scene. 

Charged with igniting the room after the thoughtful stillness the poets had left behind was no easy feat, but Ibekwe was up to the task. Soon half the room was out of their seats. Couples paired up, friends took hands and a Conga line swept through the room. 

Mack OC offered an outsider’s perspective on the event. 

“The community y’all have over here is amazing… As Black people we need to make sure we are united together in these spaces, we only have each other… we’re all trying to climb a ladder that we are creating,” he said.

Justice Vue

Co-host Joe Mason’s band Gifted Handz was among the performances of the night. Gifted Handz was named in the spirit of the group’s religious purpose. 

“You can say we’re talented, you can say we’re skilled but I believe God has given us these gifts for a purpose… to heal people through our gifts,” Mason said.

Mason introduced his “mentor” prominent local Jazz musician L.A. Buckner and his band BiG HOMiE, as someone who “really represents Blackness, (and) Black art.” Arthur L.A. Buckner has topped jazz charts and is regularly featured on MN’s The Current

Buckner’s single “Not today Karen… Not today” was amongst the pieces performed, inspired by being a Black man in a white state. 

“I wrote this song as a Black man in Minnesota, y’all get it, right? Not today,” Buckner told the crowd.

The diversity in performances and the complexity of emotions stirred was a reflection of what BSC hoped to accomplish. 

“Community. That’s what this night was truly about,” said professor Suda Ishida. 

Joe Mason thanked the crowd of people for attending. 

“Hamline y’all did come out, you showed up to support Black people,” Mason said. “With time we wanna do more things like this, more events that celebrate Black culture. More that will allow students to be loose, and have a good time, network and socialize.” 

Check out Hamline.Presence.io for upcoming events from BSC and other student orgs.