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Manhattanville Concert Celebrates Black History

HARRISON, N.Y. -  The Manhattanville College Black Student Union (BSU) closed out Black History Month with a bang -- offering an open microphone to anybody wanting to sing, rap or recite poetry.

Known as the Hip-Hop Pub Concert, students and other invitees took to the microphone to share rhymes and songs. Manhattanville junior Annesha Edwards-Carter had never organized an event of this sort, but promoted it well enough to attract about 30 people to The Pub on Manhattanville’s campus to participate and/or watch.

“Music is part of humanity,” Edwards-Carter, who also serves as the president of the BSU, said. “For African-Americans, music goes back for generations. We want to give people a chance to see something from a different point of view.”

One of the performers was freshman Steven Willis. A native of Chicago, Ill., Willis has been performing poetry for nearly four years. As a creative writing major and huge “fan” of literature, Willis sees poetry as something that can inspire others.

“So much goes into creating it,” Willis said about his performance. “I want people to see poetry as the art form it truly is.”

But as entertaining as music and poetry can be, Willis makes sure to remember the reason for the concert: to celebrate black history in America.

“Hip-Hop has evolved from storytelling,” Willis said. “You can trace it back through many centuries to the oral traditions in Africa.”

Another dimension of the show came from Hip-Hop artist Spirit Child, who captivated the crowd with his political rhymes. Spirit Child originally came to Manhattanville for a panel discussion on racism on campus. When offered the chance to perform at Manhattanville, Spirit Child jumped on the chance to return to the campus.

"People who might not know too much about African-American culture can come here and learn about it from everybody else," Spirit Child said.

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