Black Arts Festival explores culture through multiple events

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Molly Maugeri, Staff Reporter

As Black History Month comes to a close, the Black Arts Festival celebrates black writers, musicians and artists from New Orleans and around the country.

The Tulane Black Student Union started organizing the festival around the time of the organization’s conception in 1969.

This year’s festival is entitled “Clap Black Season: An Expression of Identity through Arts,” and includes seven events from Feb. 27 to March 13, hosted around campus and New Orleans.

A Performing Arts Showcase in the Lavin-Bernick Center kicked off the festival last weekend. Keynote speaker Issa Rae spoke on Monday, Feb. 29 in McAlister Auditorium about her career as a creative producer and writer for her Web series, “Awkward Black Girl.”

Rae’s speech touched on the lack of black women and black people depicted on screen in a realm of “normalcy,” and how she wanted to change that stereotype.

Issa Rae’s lecture was co-sponsored with Tulane University Campus Programming. The festival’s head chair, Samantha Fleurinor, and planning committee work with various campus institutions and organizations that are interested in intersectional programming.

Fleurinor said that black students as well as other racial and sexual minority students are too frequently silenced in classrooms and organizations.

“The festival also creates spaces to bring people together and explore different intersections of black culture,” Fleurinor said. “The goal can manifest itself in various ways  through workshops on gender and race, conversations about black art and activism, black expressions through film  the common factor of black people who want to share their talents remains the same, which keeps the spirit of the festival pretty familiar.”

Fleurinor concluded that the festival is sustained by the praise, engagement and contribution from the community and tBSU.

“The spirit of the festival lies within Tulane black students and the New Orleans community,” Fleurinor said.