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CBS Showcase to exhibit dance, diversity


Lily Bohlke, Copy Editor

Tonight, Feb. 26, the Concerned Black Students (CBS) group will be putting on its Annual Black History Month Showcase at 7 p.m. in the Harris Center. The showcase is composed of student performances including singing, dancing, poetry and other forms of artistry, as performers for the event have been drawn from students who are either in CBS or have reached out to the group. A majority of the performances are a celebration of both blackness and Black History Month.

“Students perform things they think define or celebrate blackness or Black History Month as a whole,” said Dixon Romeo ’16. 

One of the main purposes of the showcase is to celebrate diversity by featuring members of the campus community interacting and showing off their talents.


“Whether it’s diversity along the Black spectrum or diversity on campus in general, we have so many different interests and talents, so it’s nice to see some people showcase them,” Dixon said.

SGA Diversity and Outreach Coordinator Anita DeWitt ’17 emphasized that the individuality of CBS as a group on campus would be exemplified at the showcase.

“It is just so full of so many honest personalities,” she said. “That’s something that every person who comes to any CBS meetings recognizes.”

According to Romeo, this is the second year CBS has put on this event, which he hopes will continue a tradition of bringing the community together through a sharing of cultures.

“We thought it was an important thing to do,” Romeo said. “It’s a community building event, sharing CBS community with the rest of campus because we are one big campus community.”

Some performances include African drum pieces, vocal performances, piano pieces and both the women and men’s step team performances. Romeo will be a part of the men’s step performance, while DeWitt will be reading poetry. 

“I’m going to read ‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Angelou because I think it defines me,” DeWitt said.

In planning the event, DeWitt coordinated with other multicultural groups on campus to showcase cultural dances, including a Latin dance. Organizing the event, however, was not the smoothest process. After a late start to organizing the events for Black History Month, getting everything together has been hectic due to variability, according to DeWitt.

“Last year we had a huge poster outside the Dining Hall [outlining] every event in February, but we didn’t really have the opportunity of doing that this year, because everything was changing,” she said.

Another obstacle has been working out the budget. At the beginning of the semester, DeWitt reached out to all the multicultural groups on campus to find out what kinds of funds they will need for their events.

“As the diversity and outreach coordinator, I work hard to make sure funds for these events are pre-allocated,” she noted.

The showcase last year cost 300 dollars, so Campus Council allocated the same amount for the event this year. However, last year CBS had around 30 students, whereas this year it has more than 75. On Wednesday night, Romeo went in front of Campus Council to discuss a bigger budget, according to DeWitt and Sean Haggerty ’19.

In terms of catering the showcase, Romeo found a Jamaican restaurant in Des Moines to cater the event and was able to work a deal for 650 dollars, according to Haggerty. However, although they are willing to do it at that price, they would prefer to be paid in full, which would be 830 dollars. Campus Council only allocated the requested amount for 650 dollars, according to DeWitt.

“Our goal is to make sure more people are coming to these events, so there should be a steady increase going to multicultural groups,” DeWitt said.

After rehearsing on Thursday night, DeWitt said that she is very excited for the showcase and to perform in front of a sizable audience. 

“There [are] going to be so many faculty, staff and students,” she said. “It’s going to be lit.”

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