Black History Month is a roots celebration

by | Jan 31, 2014 | News

Tyrell Martins
Senior Reporter

Humber College’s Gospel Choir will be one of the many acts displaying their talent at the Roots/A Celebration of Black Culture and History event.

The Gospel Choir is a Humber program made up of approximately 30 music students. With the intent of future growth, auditions will be hosted in the fall, as the choir is searching for members from various programs to join them at the Lakeshore Campus

Humber music professor Brad Klump believes that understanding the history of gospel music would be beneficial for embracing various music genres.

“This an opportunity for students to explore and celebrate a type of music we don’t usually do. If you trace the history of gospel music, you realize that it has influenced and informed all types of popular music,” Klump said.


Photo by Sanja Antic

He added gospel music has the ability to instill togetherness, and provide a jubilant atmosphere throughout the student body.

“There’s a tremendous richness in exploring the repertoire, understanding the history of gospel music, and then getting people together to sing songs that have tremendous meaning and a sense of joy,” Klump said.

The event, which takes place at the North and Lakeshore campuses over the next two days, will showcase various performances by local comedians, musicians and poets. An art gallery and fashion show, along with information and food booths, will headline the festivities.

Event organizer and former Humber interior-design student, Tennesha Skyers, also wants to commemorate all cultures while guiding Humber’s launch of Black History Month.

Skyers will be auctioning off two paintings in hopes of creating a brother and sisters scholarship, which will be issued to any future Humber student that exemplifies unity and togetherness.

“At Humber we have multiple scholarships that celebrate talents or abilities, but not necessarily anything that promotes togetherness,” Skyers said.

Likewise, Skyers hopes the scholarship can become an annual event that sends the same message on a yearly basis.

“I thought this would be a great beginning to highlight different races, people from different schools, age-groups, different variations of talents and art genres coming together to honour one long journey that we’ve all endured through our ancestors.”

The Jade Project, co-founded by Carissa Brooks, is a group that creates awareness of mental health and mental illness through handmade bracelets. Each bracelet has a jade bead, which stands for healing, hope, acceptance, and removing the negative stigma attached to mental illness.

Brooks believes that this event would provide a great platform to educate peers regarding the battle against mental illness.

“We find that in the black community (mental illness) is not talked about as much because of fears of what others may say and there’s so much stigma around mental illness. It’s not portrayed as a strong feature of a person,” Brooks said.

Jade bracelets will be sold at the event for $5, while necklaces will also be available, ranging from $10 to $30.

“You don’t have to be what people expect of you, you can surpass the stereotypes, and the same thing that goes for stereotypes regarding black individuals goes for mental illness,” she said. “We’ve combined both to show people that we’re young black women, but we’ve both identified having a mental illness and speaking up for it, and it’s a good thing.”

The free event takes place tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the North campus Student Centre, and at the same time Wednesday in the L-cafeteria at the Lakeshore campus.