K-State Black Student Union hosted My Black is Beautiful this week, a national campaign created to celebrate black identity.
Each day was something different for the BSU. Between hosting events each evening at different locations around campus, presenting videos, conducting activities and holding discussions, everything centered around the campaign’s ideas and the Twitter tag #BlackToTheRoots.
Alexandria Smith, junior in marketing and BSU member on the My Black is Beautiful Week planning committee, said the event was the organization’s way of “celebrating black beauty” not only with each other, but with others from across the nation.
“It’s explaining that black beauty is everything that we should celebrate,” Smith said. “It’s not that we should put each other down. It’s getting rid of those stereotypes and stigmas that we have on each other every single day.”
Muenfua Lewis, senior in finance and BSU president, said he believes the idea to host a week of events based on the phrase “My Black is Beautiful” is original to K-State. Many of the individual event names were inspired by “key black enthusiasts and black culture,” he said.
“I guess we’re kind of making history with what we’re doing,” Lewis said. “We planned it out ourselves and came up with our own events. I got to work with the coolest committee ever, and these ladies were incredible.”
Each night of presentations, activities and discussions had a different theme or focus.
“It kind of stemmed from the campaign My Black is Beautiful, which is nationwide, and we’ve never done something like this before,” Smith said. “So we decided to have a week that celebrates us.”
Lewis said that throughout the week, posts to BSU’s Twitter account were tagged #BlackToTheRoots, and he noticed that the hashtag spread quickly across campus, and even to other schools’ campuses.
“It’s really been incredible because I’ve seen African Americans from all over K-State that aren’t even always in BSU using this hashtag,” Lewis said. “I’ve seen that now other schools are starting to catch on to it because of something that K-State did here.”
According to Casha Mills, junior in English and BSU member, My Black is Beautiful Week served as a time to focus on spreading positivity and supporting identity, especially since it reached so much of the K-State community.
“This week is all about making everyone feel like they can walk outside and say, ‘No matter what society thinks or what the media depicts of me, I am beautiful,'” Mills said.
Gabby Simms, BSU member and freshman in communication sciences and disorders, said she felt that that My Black is Beautiful Week was a fun way to celebrate the importance of identity throughout all cultures.
“A lot of people in society just put down black features and black people and that gets to people,” Simms said. “It hurts their feelings and can make them feel like they’re worth less than they are, so I just think this (My Black is Beautiful Week) is really uplifting to do to educate everyone about it, not just us.”