‘If you’re Black, your life is the Black Experience’: WKU Forensics, Phi Beta Sigma, African American studies host showcase

Laquan Richardson, News Reporter

The Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, WKU’s forensics team and the African American studies department put together an event titled “The Black Experience” in the DSU Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 24 to celebrate Black history and excellence.

“The purpose of today’s event was to take the audience through a timeline-style event and showcase the perseverance and excellence of each part of Black American history,” Avery Wells, member of Phi Beta Sigma, said. The event progressed through the timeline with the help of poets, singers, dancers, writers and speakers, many of them WKU students. 

“The message we wanted people to leave with is the notion that black people are stronger than we can even understand,” Tani Washington, student coordinator for the African American studies department and member of the forensics team, said. “Especially black women, who generally don’t get the credit they deserve – they are strong individuals who deserve the same love, affection and applause everyone else does.”

The timeline started with Pan-African history, emphasizing the point that black history didn’t start with chains in America, and then took the audience through the civil rights movement, the time of segregation, the emergence of historically black colleges and universities and all the way up to the movement for black lives of the present day.

”It’s important to bring these types of events to predominantly white campuses because we can see from their perspective, but it’s hard for them to see from ours – we live in their world, and they have to look into our world to try to get any type of conceptualization of what it is we go through,” Wells said. “So, it’s important for us to continue to showcase these types of things to make a better future and to have a more understanding population of people who are graduating and going out into the real world and being our doctors, lawyers, judges and members of the criminal justice system – becoming police officers, and those sorts of things.” 

The Event spotlighted the Divine 9 on campus, offered HBCU-style performances by Kaois Dance Team LLC, and a rendition of the Negro National Anthem by the Amazing Tones of Joy.

 “The black experience is something that’s had by any person who is black – if you’re black, your life is the Black Experience,” Washington said.

News Reporter Laquan Richardson can be reached at [email protected].