Second year of ‘Black Lives, Black Words’ to feature food drive, musical performances


Daily file photo by Oreste Visentini

Communication junior Ziare Paul-Emile performs at the 2017 “Black Lives, Black Words” event. This year’s production will add a food drive and performances by the Northwestern Community Ensemble and a cappella group Soul4Real.

Maddie Burakoff, Campus Editor

After helping bring black students’ work to the stage in last year’s “Black Lives, Black Words” play festival, Communication Prof. Aaron Todd Douglas said he is expanding the event this year to collaborate with other groups and bring people together from across the campus.

“My hope and vision for it was to really come into greater contact with different sections of the campus community at Northwestern, and bring people together who otherwise may not come into contact with one another,” Douglas said. “As well as to make it an inclusive event to anyone who had interest in gaining a greater perspective on the African American community.”

The event, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, will feature original work by students responding to the question, “Do black lives matter?” Douglas — who is producing the show along with Communication Prof. Laura Schellhardt and students Bryana Barry and Allie Woodson — said most of the performances are plays or monologues, although all forms of artistic expression are welcome.

This year, Douglas said the production will add performances by gospel choir Northwestern Community Ensemble and a cappella group Soul4Real, and partner with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to hold a food drive for Hillside Food Pantry in Evanston. DJ Danté Gilmer will also perform, according to the Facebook event.

Last year was the first time the event had partnered with a college campus, Douglas said. The 2017 event brought in about 250 audience members, he said, and this year he hopes to fill up the nearly 450 seats in the Ethel M. Barber Theater.

“It’s designed to be a celebration as well as an impactful performance,” Douglas said. “The style of the pieces sometimes is often very funny and silly, and sometimes very touching. Often the perspective is unexpected and enlightening.”

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