Wrapping up Black History Month with the Black Excellence Expo

Lauren Fox, General Assignment Reporter

Black artists showcased their talent Friday night at the Black Excellence Expo, hosted by the University of North Florida Black Student Union. 

The evening was a celebration of Black history and culture, bringing students and members of the Jacksonville community together. In honor of Black History Month, the event focused on the past and present talent of Black artists.

The event featured Black student artists Mackenzie Conaway and Kazin Reynolds who performed a duet. Singer Dez Smalls also performed a solo song for the crowd. 

“Black Excellence is confidence when you utilize your voice to speak […] it directly connects to our inherited innovations, we made a way despite choices they gave us on that plantation,” recited poet, educator and TEDx speaker Mal Jones.

Jones performed two poems, one written specifically for the event. His words seemed to resonate with the audience as they responded when he spoke about black struggles.

“[These are] things that I felt like students should see more of, especially Black students. Just so they can be able to have a catalyst for their creative minds,” said Black Student Union president Yvenie Etienne describing the planning of the event.

The expo entertained and educated audience members with a short presentation highlighting important people in Black history.

On the saxophone, UNF graduate Allana Southerland treated the crowd to some R&B and Jazz fusion, performed while walking around the Student Union ballroom. Backed by guitarist Joyce Genwright and drummer John Prince, the Party in a Box Band entertained the crowd throughout the event.

Audience members danced and socialized, enjoying the highly anticipated catering that was available for all attendees.

President Etienne extended a welcome to anyone interested in joining the Black Student Union.

“We would love to have everyone,” she said.


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