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Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., WKU Forensics host “Black Experience Showcase”

Ian Pitchford
Jade Ismail, a member of WKU Forensics, performs a speech during the Black Experience Showcase in the Downing Student Union auditorium on Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024.

Students gathered to celebrate Black culture with the “Black Experience Showcase” hosted by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and WKU Forensics in DSU on Wednesday, Feb. 28 

The showcase included a variety of art forms including speeches, dancing, singing, fashion and vendors representing black-owned businesses. 

Micah Poole, sophomore mechanical engineering major, and Micheal Diugu, sophomore psychology major, co-hosted the showcase. 

Diugu is the director of social action for the Epsilon Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. To him, the showcase was about perseverance and the art that African Americans have produced throughout time.

“No matter what we’ve been through as African Americans, we have thrived and we have tested time and trials and tribulation and been able to advance in new ways,” Diugu said.

With this being the fourth annual showcase, Diugu wanted to take a new approach to the event and hoped to highlight the different art forms that African Americans bring to the table. 

The showcase also brought light to African American Greek organizations at WKU and the origins of each of them.

Morgan Wynne, a member of WKU’s Delta Sigma Theta sorority, introduces her sorority and shares its history during the Black Experience Showcase in the Downing Student Union auditorium on Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024. (Ian Pitchford)

Jeremiah Morrow, senior sports management major, is the president of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. and was able to speak during the showcase about his chapter.

“The Black Experience Showcase is expression of our culture and our community, and gives us a platform to show our art and different things surrounding our culture,” Morrow said. 

Morrow enjoyed the fashion show that was highlighted at the end of the event designed entirely by a WKU student with an all-Black model cast. 

“It’s showcasing the entrepreneurship on campus. The young lady that was over the fashion show and designed those clothes goes to WKU so it was able to show entrepreneurship and Black-owned businesses,” Morrow said.

Jaylin Heater does the splits during the fashion show at the Black Experience Showcase in the Downing Student Union auditorium on Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024. (Ian Pitchford)

Morrow hopes that the WKU community was able to understand that Black people have more to offer than just entertainment, but that there is success and excellence attached to being Black.

Jade Ismail, sophomore psychological science extended major, is a member of the WKU Forensics team and performed a speech surrounding Kenyan culture and bringing awareness to LGBTQ+ experiences. 

“This is a story that doesn’t get talked about a lot and it’s so important that we hear intersectionality and that we show that through art and that really is what inspired us to get this story seen,” Ismail said. 

Ismail hopes that the community was able to learn more about what African American culture is and see how Black people manifest themselves in the community at WKU.

“I hope people can take this experience, learn more about who we are as people and spread awareness of how beautiful we are,” Ismail said.

News Reporter Kaylee Hawkins can be reached at [email protected]

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