Featured (List) Features

BSU Hosts Ebony Night: A Night at the Oscars

The Black Student Union (BSU) hosted Ebony Night: A Night at the Oscars on Saturday, Mar. 2 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. Students, faculty and staff dressed elegantly to participate in a night of awards, red carpet experience, music and step performances, buffet-styled food, and prize giveaways.

Ebony Night is a night dedicated to highlighting and unifying black culture on campus to further shine light on Black History Month. In the past, it has been celebrated as formal dinners, fashion shows, and talent shows. This year, the national theme for Black History Month was “African Americans and the Arts.” Therefore, BSU decided to use the theme to represent different forms of Black art and recognize its impacts by making it a memorable night of excellence.

Jihad Johnson, M.S.Ed., Assistant Director of the Intercultural Center and Advisor for BSU said, “I really wanted students to come together and celebrate black excellence. We haven’t had [Ebony Night] since before Covid; this is something the community needed, and BSU worked very hard to make it happen.”
In order to attend Ebony Night, students paid $15, and their additional guest paid $15 as well. Faculty members that were attending paid $25, and $25 for their guests. “In a course of two weeks, we went from selling 39 tickets to selling over 140 tickets,” Johnson mentioned. “Originally [Ebony Night] was supposed to be capped at 125 people, but once I saw how excited the students were to have this event, there was no way I couldn’t expand the capacity.”

Students, faculty, and staff were also able to enjoy a variety of buffet style food, desserts, and snacks. The food consisted of fried chicken, baked chicken, fish, macaroni and cheese, rice, yams, and salad. People were also able to choose from different types of sweets such as cheesecake, cupcakes, banana pudding, and cookies as well as snacks like popcorn and candy.

A red carpet was provided along with a picture-taking station where students were able to show off their outfits and take photos with one another. A Jazz band performed, along with entertainment and music from DJ Holla.

Performances were also given by students: Jeff Mendez on the Grand Piano, and Asia Jones and Amani Adelekan singing. A step show was also presented by Elijah Figeroa, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.

“Our number one goal was to foster an environment where everyone felt included, got to put on their best fits, and feel special about themselves. We wanted them to come to an environment where they are celebrated for who they are,” Sekou Diabate, a junior homeland security student and the Treasurer of BSU, said.

An award ceremony was presented to members of the Monmouth community in recognition of their hard work. The awards were given through categories: perfect attendance, rookie of the year, dress to impress, helping hand, advising, faculty impact, e-board excellence, movie star, and the amazing alumni award. The awardees were given an Oscars trophy with a gift bag.

“We [BSU] wanted to give out awards and give recognition to our members. We wanted them to feel appreciated and know that what they do matters,” Asad Whitehead, senior music industry student and President of BSU, emphasized.

There was a raffle contest and gift prizes given to winners for a free chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A, and a free ice cream sandwich from The Baked Bear.

Co-sponsors for Ebony Night represented their clubs by decorating tables based on Disney movies. The National Council of Negro Women’s (NCNW) table was “Princess and the Frog” themed, and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) was “Coco” themed.

Alongside NCNW and LASO, Ebony Night was co-sponsored by the Social Justice Academy and the Marine Environmental Biology and Policy club. It was also sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, Alpha Phi Alpha, The Baked Bear, and Reconnect NYC.

BSU showed the preview trailer for the documentary that they have been working on that discusses the growth of their club and successful events and revealed to the Monmouth community that it will be coming soon.

“I really enjoyed [Ebony Night]; BSU did a phenomenal job and it turned out great,” Cameron Chase, a junior psychology student, said. “It helped me feel included and brought the community together.”

Whitehead concluded, “I think that [Ebony Night] was very successful. It gave an Oscars feel, down to the awards, food, music, and performances. Everything screamed black culture.”