PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Brown Center for Students of Color’s Black Heritage Series sponsors two annual campus traditions: The Black Arts Showcase held each fall and Soul Food Night, which takes place every spring.
The COVID-19 pandemic put both of these events in peril this year, unfortunately, by creating the need to limit social gatherings — and particularly those involving meals — to protect health and safety, but the student organizers of the Black Heritage Series were determined to keep the traditions alive. When the University began encouraging applications for thoughtfully planned in-person activities this spring, the students combined the two signature events into a single, COVID-safe springtime celebration, which was held on the College Green on Tuesday, April 6.
This year’s event, which retained the name Black Arts Showcase, featured artwork and performances by dozens of members of the Black student community at Brown. It culminated in a to-go soul food dinner, which was prepared and served by Brown Dining Services staff and enjoyed by attendees individually or with podmates after leaving the event.
Wassa Bagayoko, who co-organizes the Black Heritage Series, said that the opportunity to uphold these well-loved campus traditions — and to bring fellow students together at a time when they are just beginning to enjoy more in-person events — proved invaluable.
“I’m definitely very, very grateful to give people an excuse to get dressed up, see some really nice art, and — even if it’s from across the main green — to wave out to people they may not have seen in a year,” said the senior international relations concentrator.