Picture this: Soul food on Superbowl weekend. That’s how the Black Student Union (BSU) kicked off this year’s Mocha Month, a series of events meant to inspire a larger dialogue around Black History Month and the experiences of black people today. The soul food was part of BSU’s Soul Food Rent Party, hosted by Mrs. Kitchen Soul Food Restaurant and Bakery on Feb. 4.
Senior Maia Ogembo, the BSU president, single-handedly organized Mocha Month this year. She has worked to expand the number of events offered and made a push to add information about the events and start the Hidden Black Figures series on the LeeRoy newsletter.
“BSU originally only had Mocha Life and poetry during Black History Month, but I thought it would be cool to have a series of events,” Ogembo wrote in an email interview.
As it stands, the list of events includes spoken word poetry, a Step Afrika performance and a church event. Khaniya Russell, junior and BSU vice president, characterized the events as both informative and entertaining.
“It’s a really beautiful hodgepodge of culturally relevant talks, documentary screenings, entertainment and talks with the members of BSU about hot topics relevant to Black History Month,” Russell said.
Russell emphasized that the goal of the program is to celebrate and inspire dialogue about Black History Month outside of BSU.
“Any little way that we can try to interact with the larger Trinity community and tie it back to Black History Month is what all of these programs are designed to do,” Russell said.
Several events, such as the rent party and a screening of the documentary “Teach Us All,” have already happened, but Ogembo and the other club officers are all looking forward to the Mocha Life celebration the most. Kezia Nyarko, sophomore and BSU community chair, loved Mocha Life last year and will be performing with the African Student Association at the event this year.
“All of the events are fun, but Mocha Life blew me away last year! It was so much fun and I enjoyed every bit of it,” Nyarko said.
According to Ogembo, Mocha Life is a showcase of black arts through singing, dancing and poetry. Several Trinity organizations will be performing, such as Loon-E Crew and the Prowlers, but there will also be outside groups coming, like the Sam Houston High School band.
Ogembo is looking forward to seeing the fruits of her labor at Mocha Life, as she has been its primary organizer.
“I try to make Mocha Life entertaining and am excited to see my hard work go well,” Ogembo said.
The Mocha Life showcase will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Laurie Auditorium.
Russell said she hopes that, after experiencing Mocha Month, people will take away a more complete idea of the goals and the spirit of BSU and the black community as a whole.
“From all the programs in Mocha Month I hope people get a great sense of the cultural roots that BSU is here to represent and bring to the larger Trinity community. Just to see like the fun side and really see some issues that hit home for black community but are not only relevant to the black community … We don’t always like to have really serious dialogues, or dialogues that are really closed off to just black people. We [also] like to have fun events on campus that engage the whole community, so Mocha Month is really just an extension of that,” Russell said.
Questions about Mocha Month? Contact Maia Ogembo at firstname.lastname@example.org.