BADU hosted its annual Black History Month finale show on March 2. The show was student made, student lead and student focused.
The BADU finale show was filled with emotional and exciting moments. Salem students Fela Langston, Shania Guy, Imani Brown, Kadrisse McIntosh and Stephanie Arcos performed powerful music and spoken word pieces. Up and coming rappers Tyree and Scott Smith performed pieces about their experiences as black men in the United States. The Ghost Ryders and African Student Association got the crowd pumped with their high energy performances.
Preparations for the finale show began in August when the board members started brainstorming ideas for the show. Before the show came together though, the BADU board faced a number of challenges. They lost their president, struggled with getting help from their faculty advisor and butted heads on certain ideas. As Chardell Hodges explained, they are all “leaders in different areas on campus,” and they had to learn to put aside their “leadership mentality and work as a team” and figure out how to put together the show with just six people.
Tamia House explained that another huge problem the club faced was creating their “own community outreach” because Salem’s Black History Month celebrations and events are “ not coordinated by the college overall…it is purely student ran, student participation. Everything is allegated by the students.” It was difficult for them to find “outreach points” to get donations for their raffles and to figure “where to reach out and who to reach out to.” Channy Jordan-Grier elaborated that in the past, Dr. Hines-Gather performed community outreach for the club but due to her departure from Salem College, the students had to do it themselves.
The board was very successful on their own though. Imani Brown contacted Carver High School, a high school with a 73% black student population according to USNews, and had them open the show. The band performed a girl power themed performance complete with female dancers and a colorguard. BADU also contacted Salem Academy’s Black Student Union to attend the show and presented them with an award for the work they are doing at their school. Channy explained that not too long ago, “cultural organizations” were not allowed at Salem Academy, so it was a very big moment when the Black Student Union was formed. The club wanted to include these black high school students in their show to commemorate them for creating “black spaces” and to give the students exposure to a college campus, so that they are better able to see themselves on a college campus in the future.
A main feature of the show was the awards BADU presented to Salem students. All students on campus were asked to submit nominations of the students who they thought deserved certain awards like the “We are Family,” “Lean on Me” and “Hines Gather Award” award. The student with the most nominations won. Each award was preceded with a heartfelt congratulations video from someone in the winner’s life. Hodges said the awards were meant to “highlight black excellence on campus” not just “black excellence as far as beauty but as far as personality, sports and a lot of other different aspects” that she believes Salem doesn’t always address. The awards highlighted exactly how these students were “impacting this campus and what they bring to Salem.”
The African Student Association was honored with an award for their hard work this year. This is the first year the organization has been on Salem’s campus and they have performed and hosted a plethora of events throughout the year. Tashia Grant explained that the club decided to audition for the BADU finale show because they thought it would “be good to have exposure for the ASO club”. The club was in complete shock about their award. Grant said “we didn’t even expect it. We didn’t think we were getting an award.”