BSU Presents: Black Gala 2022
The Round Table got a chance to sit down with Jada Daniel’23, BSU’s president for the 2021-2022 academic year.
This year Black Student Union held their annual Black Gala event in the stack located in the Powerhouse on Saturday, February 26. Due to COVID-19, BSU was unable to throw the Gala last year. With the support of this year’s members BSU was able to bring back the Gala with this year’s theme being Black joy and representation but their aesthetic was Black Hollywood. This was a night in which members of BSU and their invited guests had the chance to show up dressed to the nines, to celebrate Black history in the making.
The planning process for one of their most notorious events started late last year around November. From the thought out menu to the presentation from guest speaker Regina Jackson, BSU members had meticulously planned out a night full of Black representation and joy. The entrance of the Stack welcomed guests into the room with black and gold decorations and an itinerary with a menu for the night.
The night started with members and guests arriving around 7 p.m. greeting one another as they walked into the Hollywood themed room. Guests received welcome from Daniel’23 who also thanked Bon Appetit workers for providing and helping out with the food that night. Attendees had a wide variety of choices to choose from such as fried chicken, fried catfish, baked mac n’ cheese, peach cobbler and much more.
After dinner attendees received a presentation from Regina Jackson, a mentor of a member in BSU. Jackson’s talk emphasized the importance of using your own voice and addressing one’s own needs. Promoting that each person is deserving of love and happiness. Encouraging students to lead with soul instead of caring what the rest of the world thinks. A message Jackson left the audience with was the pursuit to follow your own path, focusing on your own goals and needs. Afterwards Jackson had a chance to answer students’ questions pertaining to the lecture.
Daniel’23 announced the winners for the categories of the night. There were a variety of categories that recognized those in BSU as well as individuals who have shown support in the best ways they could and going above and beyond.
The “Rising Star” award went to Ahmasi Martin’23, an underclassmen recognized for his consistency of involvement in BSU. Hope Spann’23 was awarded the “Unsung Hero” award and Devon Pittman’23 the “I See You” award for their selfless contributions to BSU. The I Have A Dream award was presented to Kidist Demisse’25 and Amaya Anderson’24 who showed promise within the organization. The Dedication award also recognized the contributions from Jasmine Bower’25.
Students were also recognized for their aesthetic styles that night. Best dressed was awarded to Martu Kollie’23 and Closest to theme, Autumn Greene’24. Daniel’23 was also recognized and awarded for her academic excellence this year.
RT: What is the purpose of Gala’s? What do Gala’s mean to BSU?
JD: The purpose of Gala’s is really to come together and have one final celebration for Black History Month even though Black history month is every month. We really just want to see everybody dressed to the nines and just come together to celebrate each other being Black History in the making and of course the members because they do put a lot of work into being part of BSU and we want to take time to acknowledge them.
RT: Who did you invite and how did you decide who got invited?
JD: I mean of course we wanted to celebrate all Black students so not only did we invite all Black students, we were provided a list from the college but we also wanted to invite all of our members who are on the mailing list and as well as our co-conspirators and accomplices because we want them to share this moment with us too because a lot of them advocate for us and it wouldn’t be right to not celebrate the work that their doing for us. We really wanted to invite Alumni but because of COVID we couldn’t. Maybe next year of course but we have our BSU members, students and some faculty who will be there.
RT: Are there any activities planned for the night?
JD: So we’re gonna have a couple of speeches and an awards ceremony. We’re gonna have slideshows and have people send in pictures from this year especially during Black history month. And then we did want to take the time to do a short little memorial for Carla Davis because she was very key in the success of Black students here and we just really wanted to acknowledge all the work she’s done one campus and give her her flowers. And of course we’re gonna eat soul food. Then at the end of the evening we will have a toast with sparkling white grape cider.
BSU put on an event that honored Black culture and acknowledged Black students on Beloit’s campus. On top of that they also took time to honor their ancestors through the recipes they shared with Bon Appetit, providing a sense of home for Black students. A night filled with recognition, representation and joy.