As part of Black History Month, the CSUN Black Alumni Association and faculty members of the Pan-African Studies department held a talent show filled with poetry, dance and music.
Each performer was introduced individually in front of the Grand Salon Tuesday. This is the first professor showcase set up in the past five years at the USU.
Many professors and alumni members performed monologues and some acted the roles of civil rights leaders like Malcolm X to express their thoughts of black history.
Viki Allen, CSUN Alumni and assistant director of the Matador Involvement Center, presented a poem, called “Still I’ll Rise,” about the ability to possess the power to create change.
Allen said when she was first asked to perform she had thought about playing her flute but hadn’t played music in 15 years.
“I hadn’t played in probably the last five years in any consistent basis, so that was one of the reasons why I decided to do an oral presentation,” Allen said.
Allen chose two poems from an oral interpretation class she had attended in college.
“Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you upset with gloom, because I walk like I got oil wells pumping in my living room just like moons and like suns with the certainty of tides, just like hopes for me high, still I’ll rise,”Allen said. “Do you want to see me broken bowed down at fallen eyes, shoulders like teardrops weakening by my soulful cries.”
Allen said she enjoyed seeing the faculty and students in attendance.
“I was very inspired by the fact that students and our Black Student Union wanted an opportunity to see the faculty staff and alumni and what they do outside of their normal day when they’re not working,” Allen said. “I enjoyed coming out tonight to see what my fellow colleagues do.”
James L. Henry, professor of Pan-African studies, portrayed the role of Malcolm X preaching to the audience about the hardships of many African-Americans who fought for civil rights. Henry wore glasses and a suit with a bow tie to represent Malcolm X on stage.
Other talents presented included poetry, spoken word, dance and music at the “After Hours” professor showcase.
Monica L. Turner, Pan-African studies professor, presented a spoken word reading, entitled “This Time: Next Generation”
It was about two pathways in between time from slavery and segregation. Turner also used analogies and description in her poem to convey her message to the movement of black power.
“Change, next generation. Slipping and sliding into the future, Africans became the colored people who became the new Negroes, who became the black elite meticulously inscribing this in art, literature, poetry. Time, next generation,” Turner said.
Other performers including CSUN alum Hardy Keith Edwards paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. in his poem entitled “Just Us.”
Students in attendance, like Hannah Shamloo, enjoyed Edwards performance.
“He had an excellent stage presence and that was very engaging with what he was saying. He established credibility just by the articulation of his words, it was moving.”
Professors and Alumni After Hours included a live band and was open free of cost to all students and faculty. The Professor talent show was put on the CSUN webpage and fliers were distributed on around the USU to get students and faculty aware.
Aimee Glocke, Pan-African Studies professor, coordinated the event and said the goal of the event was to bring students and faculty closer together.
Glocke also participated and performed a ballet dance at the showcase. She is a trained dancer in ballet, hip hop, African dance and jazz.
Glocke thought the turnout was great.
“We had a lot of students, other faculty and community members from outside of CSUN. I am really happy with how it went and maybe this will be an annual event,” Glocke said.
Many students thought the experience was interesting.
“What stood out to me the most about this event was how so many people addressed common stereotypes but in an artistic and real manner,” Hannah Shamloo, 21, senior majoring in geophysics “It was very eye-awakening and inspiring.”