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Soul Sessions plans to provide students with cultural experience

The Emporia State Black Student Union is hosting the Soul Sessions open-mic talent show at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Memorial Union lobby in front of the Center for Student Involvement (CSI). The event is in celebration of Black History Month and aims to provide all ESU students with a perspective of different cultures.

Tayler Wash, senior elementary education major and president of BSU said Soul Sessions will invite students to read their poetry and perform music. She said the event will also feature students performing a tribal dance.

Black Student Union is currently accepting entries from students for the talent show and will keep accepting entries during the event. Wash said students can also sign up at the CSI table or on the Black Student Union website.

“I would say the biggest reason for Soul Sessions is for the students to receive a unique cultural experience from the performances,” Wash said. “The performers can fully express their culture and it’s a really great learning experience for all students in a positive, open-minded environment.”

The Black Student Union has held other open-mic student talent shows similar to Soul Sessions in the past, such as The Ice Box and The Blue Room. Majera Johnson, senior communication major and BSU member, said the Soul Sessions event will be similar in format to other shows, except that it will be free for students and will have a “much stronger cultural focus.”

The previous success of those open-mic events helped shape the idea for this month’s Soul Sessions. Wash said Black Student Union ultimately decided to have the event on campus instead of Wheat State Pizza, where they used to go, because they wanted the event to be free and to have more space for students to relax during the show.

“Our vision is to have this event provide performers with the opportunity to express their culture as well as express themselves (and) provide students with an experience of different cultures,” said Candice Brooks, senior interdisciplinary studies major and vice president of BSU. “Cultural perspective is a bigger part of the theme than the Ice Box events and the Blue Room show in November, but that positive atmosphere is still there.”

BSU has also put up posters honoring influential African American poets, writers, artists, athletes and civil rights activists on campus in celebration of Black History Month. ESU’s Black Women’s Network chapter officially merged with Black Student Union Feb. 6.

Wash said Black Student Union’s expectation for the future is “growth, in every sense of the word.”

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