The School of Theatre and Dance Student Advisory Committee sought to give students and alumni an outlet for expression by hosting Black Art Matters, an online open mic night, July 10.
Brandon Sapp, a BFA Acting major and member of the Student Advisory Committee, said the purpose of the event was to provide a way for “art to be present in the midst of all the tragedy.”
More than a dozen students and alumni participated in the open mic night, with performances ranging from spoken word, to poems, to songs.
“We wanted to create an event that would make black artists feel their talents and art was enough to contribute to the fight of racial injustice,” Sapp said. “We wanted to provide a platform that encouraged free expression without judgement and to feel confident to speak out. I was amazed by the grate amount of black artists who came out and shared their work.”
Sapp said the idea is for Black Art Matters to become an annual event, and that the school’s Student Advisory Committee will develop a Black Art Matters website to give BIPOC students an opportunity to express their thoughts, support the work of black artists and black owned businesses, to showcase past shows with black representation and suggest ideas for events for their artistry throughout the academic year.
He said it was gratifying to see the open mic performances. “Seeing everyone collectively stand firm in their truth, however it appeared, was amazing to me,” he said. “It made me feel like we are more than capable of fighting against racial injustice constructively and willing to support each other during tragic times. During the event, we asked for donations toward the Black Lives Matter Movement and for everyone to sign a petition for Breonna Taylor, which was just as impactful as the event itself.”