The Multicultural Advisory Board held their annual Black Heritage event to celebrate Black History month.
During the event, the Praise in Motion dance ministry performed, and the Young, Gifted and Blessed Gospel Choir (YGB) sang. Dr. Monica Elkins-Johnson, Ed.D., was the speaker for the event held on Feb. 8.
Praise in Motion danced to a gospel version of “Indescribable” by Kierra Sheard. Some of the dancers held large flags, and others wore white face paint in the style of traditional mimes. Many of the motions in the dance were reminiscent of shooting arrows, and the dance moves for words such as “God” were in sign language. Each time the word “God” was said in the song, each dancer stood straight and waved their right hands in front of their faces in the sign for “God.”
Senior psychology major Cassondra Williams attended the event and sang with the YGB Gospel Choir. She said she was excited to attend the event not just to sing but also to celebrate her heritage.
“I’m here because I want to celebrate Black heritage, because I believe it’s important to learn more about my heritage,” Williams said.
The YGB choir sang “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord” in the traditional gospel style. They wore red, white and black clothes and stood in a semicircle on the stage. When they began to sing, each syllable of each word was sung in unison in short staccato notes. After the first few measures, they broke into several parts that harmonized to make a cohesive whole.
Elkins-Johnson went onto the stage to speak. She began by showing a YouTube video, Erica Campbell’s music video for her song, “I Luh God.” Elkins-Johnson wanted to show her passion for her religion, which she mentioned a few more times during her presentation.
When she was in elementary school, she asked her grandmother, who was illiterate, to review her homework. She said her grandmother would always say, “Two of your answers are wrong, but I’m not going to tell you which two.”
Elkins-Johnson defines history as “a beautiful opportunity to invest in our dreams and successes.” Elkins-Johnson spoke about the historical events happening during the time of songs such as “Wobble” and “Tootsie Roll.”
Elkins-Johnson was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. She got her degree in Education and currently serves on the Richland County School District Two School Board. She also works as an education consultant.
Diamond Green, a member of the Multicultural Advisory Board, also gave a presentation on black heritage.