Students, faculty and members of the community gathered together and celebrated black heritage.
The 26th Annual Black Heritage Banquet was put on by the Association of Black Students in conjunction with the Department of Multicultural Affairs.
The focus of the event was on the accomplishments of African- Americans throughout history and to also highlight key events like Brown vs. Board of Education and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The banquet featured a live jazz band playing selections from artists such as Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder, and music from students Holly Tucker, Savion Wright and P.O.R.T.R.A.I.T.S., a group of three students singing without accompaniment.
Dallas freshman Constance Mary Davis, a member of the Black Heritage Banquet Committee, said there were many things to consider when planning the banquet.
“We had to think of a theme which was the Bible verse Romans 8:38,” she said. “There was marketing. We made announcements in Chapel and chose the menu items.”
Davis was pleased with the way the event came together. “I am very glad about the turn-out. I am surprised and relieved,” Davis said.
The keynote speaker was Jasmine Guy. She is most recognized for her role as Whitley Gilbert in the show “A Different World” that ran for six seasons (1987-1993). She also won six consecutive NAACP awards for lead actress in a comedy series.
She spoke about how the show gave her a platform to work with people such as Spike Lee, Redd Foxx and Bill Cosby.
“When I did ‘School Daze,’ there were not many movies being made by brothers, showing up in a cinema and being filmed in a studio,” Guy said. “When I walked into that audition, there were people there from the yellowest of yellow to the blackest of black,” she said.
It inspired her to see a person of color, Spike Lee, making movies about other people of color and being successful at it.
She had many stories about what it was like working on Broadway, directing T.V. shows, and working in television and film.
The overarching theme of her speech was living in a different world.
She emphasized embracing different walks of life and experiences in order to succeed and grow in your endeavors.
“Whatever your gifts are, whatever your first discipline, whatever you claim to be, doctor, dancer, you’re going to have to use all your gifts,” Guy said.
After her speech, the floor was opened for people in the audience to ask questions about her experiences.
The banquet was a way to bring together many different people from all walks of life and commemorate black history during Black History Month.
Davis said she hopes events like these will educate people on the impact African-Americans have had on American culture and help bridge the gap between races.
“I think it’s important to show that black history is also American history,” Davis said. “And I hope in the future we can get more races to come.”