BUS kicks off its first Black History Month event, Blacker Than You

Students+attended+the+Blacker+Than+You+event%2C+which+was+hosted+by+BUS%2C+on+Feb.+8%2C+2022.

Alton Northup

Students attended the Blacker Than You event, which was hosted by BUS, on Feb. 8, 2022.

Alton Northup Senior Reporter

“Who does your mama constantly remind you she isn’t?” a presenter asked at the front of the room. 

“One of your lil friends!” a crowd of more than 20 students yelled out. 

Kent State Black United Students (BUS) held its first event of Black History Month, “Blacker Than You,” Tuesday night in Oscar Ritchie Hall. The event began with a Jeopardy game, themed around Black culture, entertainment, slang and history. It was an ice breaker for the uncomfortable but necessary discussions that followed. The group invited Black students for an open conversation on issues within the Black community. 

Topics of the discussion were corporal punishment within the Black household, the sexualization of Black women at a young age, the ideology of Africans versus African Americans, the family dynamics in Black households and “what happens in the house stays in the house,” a mantra held by many Black families that the group hoped to shatter throughout the evening. 

“This event was very much Black centric and Black focused on issues that are within our own Black community,” Deanna Baccus, director of academic affairs for BUS and a sophomore computer science major, said. “I wanted to show the joys of what’s in our Black community by playing Jeopardy games, things that involve our culture – from a positive light all the way to a negative light.” 

For over two hours, those in attendance shared their own unique experiences growing up Black. From discrimination against Black people from Africa within the Black community, personal stories of abuse, the pressure to conform to their parents’ expectations, growing up in single parent or two parent homes and culture; nothing was off the table and at some moments the room turned into a support group. 

“A lot of the topics we were talking about stem from generational curses,” Baccus said. “And how to end a generational curse is by educating people and educating ourselves and our children and so on, so these issues don’t happen again.” 

Trauma played an important role throughout the night, with the event allowing a space for Black students to be vulnerable about their upbringing without judgment. 

“A lot of the trauma that comes from the Black community is from white supremacy or from slavery,” Baccus said. “All these things that happen in the past that a lot of people think just happened in the past and are never going to happen again, that’s where it stems from. The fear of somebody beating your child to death, so what do you do, you decentralize your child by beating them? It’s toxic mindsets like this that stem from slavery, stem from white supremacy, stem from fears of being separated or fears inside the Black community.”

The group has several events planned throughout Black History Month, which can be found at its Instagram or on the Student Multicultural Center’s Black History Month page.

Alton Northup is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected]