The BSA held its annual Expressions Night to commemorate black history and culture


Azusa Pacific’s Black Student Association (BSA) celebrated Black History Month Friday night with their annual “Expressions” event. In a showcase of the gifts and talents of many BSA members, all attendees were given the unique opportunity to relive the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s.

BSA’s mission statement is to be “a family dedicated to fostering an environment where APU students can expect intellectual, social, cultural and spiritual growth through the lens of the black experience.” Expressions Night is a part of a series of events sponsored by the Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity (SCRD) that allow students in a variety of ethnic organizations on campus to showcase their talents and celebrate their culture. 

Attendees came to Upper Turner Campus Center (UTCC) dressed to impress. Many embraced the 1920’s theme with dapper hats, coats, feathered hairpieces and elaborate gowns. The smell of soul food like fried chicken, red beans and rice, collard greens and macaroni and cheese filled the air.

BSA President Malachi Smith spoke of his pride and the importance of Expressions Night during Black history month. 

“We have a longstanding history with so many successes and struggles we can point to,” Smith said. “Black history is American history and there’s a longstanding amount of excellence we want to put on display.” 

Several BSA members serenaded the crowd with song. Singer/songwriter Masitsa Luembe gave a moving performance of an original song called “Palm Trees,” played on the guitar. Malek Clay and Jasper Dunagan brought the energy with their individual rap performances that electrified the crowd. 

The expressions of black culture were not limited to musical performances. Two BSA members gave readings of their original poetry, each providing their unique reflections of black history and culture. Smith, the event’s MC, delivered a spirited dialogue playing a man who had been caught in adultery. 

Jasmine Robinson, an APU senior and BSA member, said she looked forward to the event because BSA has been a memorable part of her APU experience. 

“BSA is a great environment to kind of just be yourself as a student of color and has kind of given me that feeling of home and acceptance and belonging,” Robinson said. 

Art was another theme of the evening. A live painting of basketball legend Kobe Bryant was completed over the duration of the three-hour event by an artistic member of the BSA. Other artists had their work on display at booths for attendees to enjoy, and several black businesses were in attendance for audience members to support. 

BSA also celebrated through dance on Friday night. APU’s multicultural Umoja Step Team, performed a lively choreographed dance full of rhythmic stomping, clapping and snapping. APU’s hip-hop dance club Variety For One also rocked the house in their performance. The APU gospel choir sang to close out a wonderful night of performances. 

The BSA meets on Thursday nights in Wilden 231. All students are welcome to attend.