Students and members of B.R.U.H. gather to celebrate Black History Month with open mic and art gallery

Students look at artwork displayed at the B.R.U.H open mic event at SF State's Mary Park Lounge on Friday, Februray 24, 2017 (Christianna Fjelstad).

SF State’s Black Residents United in Housing used music, spoken-word performances and art to unite people in celebration of Black History Month.

B.R.U.H. hosted the open mic and art gallery Friday evening in the Mary Park Lounge. Approximately 50 people of all backgrounds came to listen to fellow students perform heartfelt songs and political poetry and read passionate letters concerning a range of issues. The event’s visual art centered around black history and racial issues.

Along with original work, approximately 15 people performed famous songs and poetry to get the audience excited and involved. Many read original letters to voice concerns about topics such as white supremacy, police brutality, body image, black woman stereotypes, parenthood and relationships.

B.R.U.H. required all artwork displayed to be Afrocentric and many students stepped up to contribute. Wesley Cox, a B.R.U.H. club member who helped organized the event, said he had a few pieces of his own on display, and that one student was able to sell her piece.

“For me, it was return to the source,” Cox said. “So (there is) a lot of Africanism in my art — painting my own people, which I feel like needs to be displayed more often than it is.”

B.R.U.H. is a growing group on campus and the only residential club focused on an ethnic group, giving students a safe place to voice their concerns and build a community.

“We’re a safe community for black residents to ask or feel comfortable to talk about whatever issues, or just whatever pertains to them in their everyday life,” said Sean Smith, creative writing major and Treasurer of B.R.U.H.

According to club president Carleigh Williams, B.R.U.H. helps educate students by holding weekly meetings where they discuss black history, culture and issues concerning the black community today.

“We talk about politics — we talk about everything on the spectrum,” Williams said. “We provide a safe place for people, we provide an educational environment … and we also provide ways for people to get involved that don’t normally feel like they have a voice.”

Attendees were excited to perform and watch the open mic, which included entertaining as well as serious performances that afforded students and club members a forum to address issues important to the black community today. The concept of unity was just one of the issues explored.

“You can say we’re unified and we’re working towards it and I think that’s really good,” Cox said. “But I think it’s important that we address it because a lot of people mistake it or we think that we’re all good.”

Because B.R.U.H. is the only ethnic-centered residential club on campus and February is Black History Month, the group had the freedom and support to host

multiple events to raise awareness and celebrate black history.

In addition to Friday’s well-attended open mic and art show, B.R.U.H. also hosted a Black Lives Matter Memorial and a 90s house party, giving people different ways to come together and celebrate.
The club welcomes people of all ethnicities and encourages everyone to get involved and speak their mind.