BSA February 2013 Newsletter

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Issue 5, February 2013



Issue 5, February 2013

BLACKTALK The Off icial Newsletter of the Harvard Black Student Association

In This Issue: You Don’t Want to Miss 2 Community Spotlight: 4 The Talented 5 Membership and 9

Share Your Talents! Every month, BlackTalk will recognize one student from each class as one of the “Talented Four”. Read their story to learn about their journeys and successes.

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Issue 5, February 2013


You Don’t Want to Miss This! Calender of Events Black Arts Festival Feb. 15- Kuumba’s 15th annual Black 17 Arts Festival

Feb. 20

Discussion on West Point Military Academy

Feb 22

Black Mitzvah Harvard Hillel

Feb. 23

Cultural Rhythms

Mar. 9

Black and Brilliant

Celebrate Blacks in the arts at Kuumba’s 15th annual Black Arts Festival. For more information see page 4.

Cultural Rhythms Check out the BSA table at Cultural Rhythms Food Festival for a taste of NOLA, February 23rd at 5:30pm

Black Mitzvah Join us for dinner and wine at the Harvard Hillel.

Black History Focus Week

Black and Brilliant Join the Black Students Association, the Black Pre Law Association, and the Harvard Society of Black Scientists and Engineers in celebrating the brilliant black students, faculty, and staff, both on campus and in the Harvard community.

The BSA will be organizing special Black History Month programming during the last week of Feburary. Look out over the BSA list for upcoming announcements.

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Issue 5, February 2013


You Don’t Want to Miss This! “ The Strength of the Army is the Strength of the Nation:” A Panel Discussion on Race, Politics, and Academia at West Point Military Academy

Benjamin O. Davis Jr. West Point Graduate Ww

Who: Open to the Public

When: Wednesday, February 20th 4:00-­‐5:30pm

Where: The Mather House Senior Common Room, 45 Flagg Street, Harvard University, Cambridge Reception to follow sponsored by the Black Student Association

Guest Speakers:

Col. James T. Seidule, West Point Military Academy Cadet Jamal Wells, West Point Military Academy Commentator: Peniel Joseph, Tufts University

Moderator: Kellie Carter Jackson, Harvard University

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Issue 5, February 2013


Community Spotlight

Kuumba Singers

of Harvard College

Celebrating Black Creativity and Spirituality Since 1970


he oldest existing Black organization at Harvard College, the Kuumba Singers was founded in 1970 by two Black Harvard undergraduates, Dennis Wiley and Fred Lucas. Kuumba (koo-oom-bah) is a Swahili word meaning “to create.” In an era of Black power and Black pride, Kuumba emerged as a source of community, spiritual inspiration, political motivation, and cultural stimulation among the small but growing number of Black students at Harvard. As written in the organization’s constitution, “Black music is a manifestation of the Black spirit, it speaks to our every emotion. Moreover, Black music helps sustain and direct our culture.” Reminding the Black community of its past, informing it of its present, and giving it hope and guidance for the future, the Kuumba Singers - through song, dance, poetry, and other forms of artistic expression - have always sought to leave Harvard and the surrounding community better than it was found.

Upcoming Kuumba Events: Rehearsals! Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 7 PM, SOCH Penthouse VOICES: The 15th Annual Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival February 15 - 17 In honor of Black History Month, celebrate the voices of the African diaspora through a weekend dedicated to iconic Black artists. Events include Sing It, Sister!, the Black in the Day Performance Arts Showcase, and a performance of Obehi Janice’s Fufu and Oreos. Check the full schedule of events at Tour in Philadelphia and Chicago Spring Break 2013 The 43rd Annual Dean Archie C. Epps Spring Concert Saturday, May 4 @ 8 PM, Sanders Theater

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Issue 5, February 2013


Freshman of the month

Kennedy Mmasi Class: 2016 Hometown: Arusha- Tanzania Concentration: Economics/ Applied Math Dorm: Matthews Extracurriculars: Harvard Model United Nations, Intercollegiate Model United Nations( traveling team), Club Soccer, Catholic focus group and HASA

Share with us your talents and accomplishments. I came from being one of the poor academic students in primary school to being among the top students in primary school and secondary school. I was not very passionate about learning as a kid, because I was not very good at it.

making a positive change, whether it is volunteering to educate local members of my community about environmental conservation, health care education on AIDS or importance of education to young kids.

I got the urge to learn after understanding that education was the only key to a better life in Tanzania. The vision of seeing young people without any direction in my community at home, made me understand the importance of making right decisions to get an education. It is this urge of awareness that keeps me going every single day of my life. Skillfully I participate in a lot of public speaking activities, debating clubs and Model UN. I enjoy doing any activity that has an end goal of

The most important aspect of my life is putting Almighty God in front of every task that I do. I have seen his blessings in times of obstacles that I never imagined I would overcome on my own strength. I suffered a lot of terrible accidents during my years of schooling that put in me in the hospital for long periods of time, but fortunately I saw the blessings of God and still overcame the wounds and pain of the accidents and went on doing well in school.

What advice would you give to your fellow freshmen? Make the best out of your Harvard experience, explore the wonderful opportunities present here, live happily

with the friends you make now and do your best with the passion you have chosen to follow. page 5

Issue 5, February 2013


Sophomore of the month

Matthew Maxwell Class: 2015 Hometown: Mitchellville, MD (proudly representing the DMV) Concentration: Economics Secondary Field: Sociology House: Cabot Extracurriculars: Black Pre-Law Association, Black Christian Fellowship Worship Team, Black Men’s Forum, David Walker Scholars, Intramural Basketball

Share with us your talents and accomplishments. Well, until college I was a shower singer, but fortunately, since entering college, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to perform vocally at many events and different stages such as Cultural Rhythms, Apollo Night, Christian Fellowship Events, but I mainly sing with friends on

random nights. Last year, I was blessed to have a lead role in the play Highway 91, and fortunately, this year I have been placed in a few leadership positions as well, so I’ve been really blessed.

What did you do to prepare for these accomplishments?

Describe a transformative experience you’ve had while at Harvard.

Honestly, by God’s grace, a lot of my opportunities have kind of fallen into my hand just by putting myself out there and just by trying things that I thought I may have a decent shot in. For a lot of my talents, I’ve just started to put time into developing, and I am realizing the importance of diligence and perseverance in developing oneself as an academic, a leader, a perform, and anything that you really want in life.

The most transformative experience I’ve had while enrolled at Harvard occurred in the summer before my sophomore year, which was the realization that I needed to seek God first and everything else after.

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Issue 5, February 2013


Junior of the month

Christopher Cleveland Class: 2014 Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona Concentration: Sociology Secondary Field (if applicable): MBB House: Cabot Extracurriculars: Black Students Association, Black Men’s Forum, Students for Education Reform, Harvard College Faith in Action, David Walker Scholars

Share with us your talents and accomplishments.

What did you do to prepare for these accomplishments and develop your talents?

Black Mens Forum President, Course Assistant for Follow your interests and passions and you’ll find United States in the World 35: Dilemmas of Equity and things that make you happy and be truly talented. Excellence in American K-12 Education, Human Being

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to similar greatness?

Describe a transformative experience you’ve had while at Harvard.

Before approaching any group or activity at Harvard, have a solid understanding of your self because only then can you achieve ‘greatness.’

My first blizzard freshman winter changed my life… and my skin tone forever.

Describe one great summer you’ve had while at Harvard.

What advice would you give to underclassmen?

This past summer, I participated in the School for International Training’s “South Africa: Education and Social Change Summer Program.” I conducted field and data research, analyzed the education and social policies of South Africa, and formulated improvement measures and future research topics based upon my time in the country.

Pursue your sense of self before all else.

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Issue 5, February 2013


Senior of the month

Damilare Sonoiki Class: 2013 Hometown: Hometown: Houston, TX Concentration: Economics House: Currier Extracurriculars: BMF, Harvard Lampoon

Share with us your talents and accomplishments. I recently beat one of my blockmates in Ruzzle several times. I made a documentary about Southwest Houston, where I grew up. I worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs for the past two summers and at Morgan Stanley the summer before that, and I’ll

be working at Goldman Sachs full time in New York starting in July. Most importantly, I helped Wigglesworth win the IM dodgeball championship my freshman year.

What did you do to prepare for these ac- Describe one great summer you’ve had complishments and develop your talents? while at Harvard. When I was an underclassman, I talked with upperclassmen a lot about their experiences at Harvard and they gave me a lot of advice. I tried to listen.

Summer after sophomore year was eventful. I know that’s not really a description, but some people will understand.

What advice would you give to underclassmen? Do what makes you happy. Take classes that interest you; but also try to have a balanced schedule. Have fun.

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Issue 5, February 2013


Share Your Talents! Every month, BlackTalk will recognize one student from each class as one of the “Talented Four”. Look for their stories in the monthly newsletter. Nominate yourself or someone else for the talented four here or e-mail for details.

BSA Membership Dues


$20 Academic Year $35 Lifetime membership with free black card $40 Lifetime membership with free black card & T-shirt

The BSA would like to thank the following sponsors:

That’s a Wrap! E-mail us at for inquiries, comments, etc. on this month’s newsletter. Send us pictures, ideas, etc. that you would like to see in future installments of BLACKTALK. We love to hear from you! WWW.HARVARDBSA.COM Newsletter Edited and Designed by Ahsante Bean page 9