Black Culture Week 2014
by Kemi Layeni
Every year the Black Student Alliance (BSA) hosts an event called Black Culture Week, usually late into the fall semester. It’s a time for the black community at UVA as well as other students to be immersed and reinvigorated by black culture. When Black Culture Week began in the early 70s, BSA was then called Black Students for Freedom working to create a Black Studies program and increase black students and faculty. Then, Black Culture Week boasted of artists like Amiri Baraka. Just imagine, Amiri Baraka walking on grounds! Now, Black Culture Week has a variety of events from discussions on Barack Obama and Michael Brown, to a Gordon Parks photography exhibit and an African Diasporic food event.
One of the events that I attended during Black Culture Week was the Food Migration event at the start of the week.
The Food Migration event was amazing to say the least. It featured food from some of the African Diasporic student organizations on grounds like Ethiopian Student Union (ESU), Organization of African Students (OAS), Student Organization of Caribbean Awareness (SOCA) and Black Student Alliance (BSA). Each group had their own table at each corner of the room where they served staple foods like jollof rice at the OAS table and injera at the ESU table. At each table where people sat and dined, there were cards explaining the foods and their significance to their respective cultures.
My family is from Nigeria so I’m used to eating some of the foods that were at the OAS table, but it was an amazing experience to try Ethiopian and Caribbean delicacies as well as staple soul food meals.
It was a great time of camaraderie and laughter as students of all years and all races came out to eat and be merry. Black Culture Week is one of my favorite times of the year and the Food Migration was definitely a strong start to the week. Black Culture Week promotes community, entertainment, learning and deep thought all centered on the black experience. Being a black student at UVA, it’s definitely a week where all people can pay attention to the black community and engage with us. It is definitely something I look forward to each year!