Ithaca College Celebrates Black History Month

By Dan Verderosa, March 7, 2016

IC Celebrates Black History Month

Last month, the Ithaca College community celebrated Black History Month with a number of events and activities commemorating black history and culture.

One of the month’s highlights was a performance of “Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale,” a poetry-based play written and performed by 2010 alumna Jaylene Clark Owens. The play uses spoken-word poetry to comment on the gentrification of Harlem, N.Y., and the displacement and silencing of black voices.

“You know, when you think about it, Harlem sure is getting white… you don’t see too many earthy tones except for the brownstones,” say a group of women in the play.

The celebration also featured a performance by the IC Step Team, who showcased their skills while paying homage to black history.

The month kicked off with showings of documentaries such as “The Black Power Mix Tape,” which examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement. Also shown was “We Came to Sweat: The Legend of Starlite,” a documentary centered on Brooklyn’s Starlite Lounge, a nightclub founded in 1962 by an African American man that came to serve as a safe haven for the gay community.

A Black History Month concert was held on Feb. 26, featuring performances by operatic countertenor John Holiday, the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, students from the Worlds of Music class and the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble.

The month ended with student-led workshops exploring “blackness” as a social identity in the 21st century and a showcase featuring students’ talents.