All Snaps: Auburn’s Black Student Union Annual Jazz and Poetry Night

The Event

Thursday, Feb. 16, Auburn’s Black Student Union held its annual Jazz and Poetry night, an event that typically takes place in the spring semester of the academic school year. Open to all students, Jazz and Poetry night features music from a live jazz band and catering from Auburn’s Catering Services. The event is free to all students, and the poets (with the addition of some singers) are Auburn students.

Switching it up!

This year, Jazz and Poetry night was held at the Auburn University Hotel Dixon Center. Chandeliers hang from the ballroom ceilings as the stage sat in the center, surrounded by cushioned chairs for an intimate setting. A buffet dinner was served in an adjacent ballroom. A photo booth was set up in the foyer. Students of all walks of life attended the event wearing their best attire, from golden blazers to high-slit dresses.

The new venue was well received by the students who took to posting on social media, such as Snapchat and Instagram. Previous venues included the Auburn Alumni Association building and the Auburn Arena balcony suites.  Kayla Warner, president of BSU, told students that the Black Student Union wanted to go all out this year for the Jazz and Poetry event.

The band, called “Soul’d Out Groove” from Montgomery was this year’s jazz band to play for the event. The band played sets of contemporary and classic hits such as Gnarls Barkley (known now as Cee Lo Green)’s “Crazy.”

There were shouts of praise, charged emotions, and even tears in response to some of the many poems and spoken word pieces performed that night. Many pieces held the theme of black empowerment, and how the African-American community must overcome the obstacles they face in the United States.  

Acts included:

Her Campus Auburn’s very own Hannah Skjellum, with her poem “Fat” which spoke of how people should take pride in their size, and that all body types should be accepted.

A John Legend medley was performed by Ryan Blackwell, with a student on piano.

An emotional spoken word was presented by Brian Young, where he was led onto stage mimicking a prison inmate sentenced to life.

A powerful duet by Daphney Portis and Jordan Kelley with their spoken word titled: “This Black Woman.”

Other acts included singing and duets, readings and the sharing of thoughts. 

Jazz and Poetry night ended with an original song by Lanice Barnes and Beverly Caesar titled “Freedom,” which led to a standing ovation.  With closing remarks by BSU executive board, students danced to Prince Hits played by the band.

Check out video coverage of the event! 


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