Sorority to host artistic black history event

April Neal recites an original poem from her published book "Some Things Just Sound Better On Paper" at Zeta Phi Beta's Jazz and Stanzas event on February 13, 2014. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. will host Jazz n’ Stanzas at 7 p.m. Friday in the Baines Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Jazz n’ Stanzas is an event designed to celebrate the roots of today’s music.

“Jazz and stanzas is originally how African Americans got to express themselves artistically. You especially see that with things like the Harlem Renaissance Movement where you had people like Zora Neale Hurston, and you had people who are all about artistic expression through books, poetry, music and jazz,” said San Diego, Calif., senior India Fordham, who is hosting the event.


The event will feature students and locals performing covers, original pieces and spoken words based on inspirations from black history.

“I think it’s important to celebrate black history through the arts because our culture is expressive,” said New Orleans, La., junior Allyn Madison, who is performing in the event. “We began as slaves singing and illustrating about freedom, and we had to find creative ways to get our messages across and keep our history alive and passed down through generations. So we sing, dance and act to express ourselves.”

This chapter event that has been a part of the multicultural affairs calendar since the early 2000s.

“It’s become a tradition almost like our banquet where we’ve had it every year that we look forward to the Zetas asking us to put this event on our Black History Month calendar, so it’s an opportunity just to have some performances by some of our students and even local people to come show off their talent,” said Geoffrey Griggs, assistant director of multicultural affairs.

Outside of the talent and light refreshments, there will also be a canned food drive for the Family Abuse Center.

“We host it during Black History Month to show where we come from. We also host it around Valentine’s Day to give and receive love,” Fordham said. “We appreciate the fact that we’re spreading love through art, but we’re also wanting to spread love to our community, and that’s why we’re doing the canned food drive.”

The event is meant to be an enjoyable as well as an educational reflective for the Baylor’s student community. Fordham said the Zetas want to make sure that people of all colors attend and embrace the event to demonstrate the common goal of education and unity.

“I’m hoping that we get a knowledge, appreciation and respect for where our artistic being comes from,” Fordham said. “Especially during this time of Black History Month I want people to really just reflect and sit on the fact that we are sitting on the greatness of our ancestors. We have come so far, and there’s still so much to go, even just in the artistic realm you can do a lot, even through expressing yourself.”