As February came to a close last week, so did Black History month. Black History Month is a time dedicated to celebrating black culture as well as recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S history. Though the longstanding influence Black Americans has had over American culture should always be recognized, February brings about amazing opportunities for example, events hosted by people dedicated to expressing black pride. Each February at SUNY Oswego, the Black Student Union hosts the Variety Show in honor of black culture. Arguably one of the most anticipated events at SUNY Oswego, the Variety Show is a time where Oswego students dress to impress in order to celebrate black culture. Here is one od our very own Campus Correspondents, Alesha Barrett, at the Variety Show with her friend, Emmanual Agyapong!
Each year the Variety Show takes on a different theme. This year’s theme was “Black is Gold.” The theme’s message was conveyed perfectly through the talented performances that showcased all that is black culture and pride. The first half of the show the school’s IMAGE Step team and Greek organizations showcased their unique steps and dances. The night was filled with throwbacks from beloved black artists that influenced and continues to influence what is music today. The crowd was excited and cheered on those who performed. The atmosphere was filled with pride as well as inclusivity. Despite not being black myself, I couldn’t help but feel united with everyone.
The theme’s message was as empowering as it was relevant. Today we are increasingly hearing about culture appropriation. Much of what is considered white, middle class American culture is actually rooted in black culture. Years before his presidency, a younger Barack Obama once said, “American culture at this point, what is truly American, is black culture to a large degree.” This is evident from the movies we watch to the music we listen to. Even country music, which largely has a white fan base, has African-American roots. An event like the Variety Show, that honors black culture and showcases its richness and diversity, is imperative to enhancing campus culture. SUNY Oswego is a predominantly white school. From my perspective, racial and ethnic groups tend to socialize with only one another. This is incredibly limiting; from learning about one another our differences can bring us together. However, these events bring do help to bring us closer. Events like this give diverse groups of people on campus to express their identities to themselves and a broad group of people.