Berks celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Penn State Berks will hold the following events in February 2014.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium
Perseverance Jazz Band will bring the music of Mardi Gras to Penn State Berks. This event is free and open to the public.

Based in Philadelphia, Perseverance Jazz Band brings New Orleans to Berks County with its enthusiastic and soulful interpretations of Ragtime, Dixieland, and Traditional Jazz. Their performance will feature great music along with some music history presented by one of their members, Dr. Robert Rawlins, Professor and Coordinator of Music Theory in the Department of Music at Rowan University. Audience members will learn about the African American cultural influences that helped form the New Orleans jazz scene. Perseverance released its first full-length album, ?Hard Times Come Again No More? in 2013. The album is available for purchase online and at their shows. This presentation is part of the Arts and Lecture series. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 610-396-6076.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m., Room 3, Perkins Student Center
Dr. Yaba Blay will present When Black Ain't Beautiful: Hair, Skin Color and the Politics of Black. This program is open to Penn State Berks students, faculty, and staff.

The program description states, ?In the historical climate of global White supremacy, ?beauty? and ?attractiveness? inasmuch as they are defined by hegemonic cultural ideals, are political constructs. For people of African descent, there are negotiations of power at play in the naming and claiming of our beauty and the performance of our identities. With specific attention given to our relationships with our skin tones and hair textures, this lecture presentation examines the enduring impact of White supremacy on the aesthetics of Black beauty.? Blay is a professor, producer, and publisher. She is one of today?s leading voices on colorism and global skin color politics. Her commentary has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Ebony Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2012, she served as a Consulting Producer for CNN?s Black in America. She is currently co-director and Assistant Teaching Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University. For more information, contact Karen Kihurani, Multicultural / International Counselor, at 610-396-6080 or via e-mail at [email protected].