AMPLIFY! | Recentering

In my experience, the spring semester has always hit Cornell’s Black community fast. February is Black History Month, and, for better or worse, student organizations serving the Black community are arguably most active during this first full month of the semester: Organizations within the BSU umbrella hosted over 20 events in February 2023. BSU’s theme for this past Black History Month was “Black 2 The Future,” as a nod to the aesthetic and philosophy of Afrofuturism. We’ve done a lot of thinking about the future of our organization, and the ramifications that it might have for Black people at Cornell and beyond.

WAITE | “Malcolm & Marie,” during Black History Month!?

Last week, as a little early Valentine’s day celebration for myself (because who loves me more than me? Evidently no one), I decided to watch the movie “Malcolm & Marie.” Because, come on –– what is a better way to spend a day in February than to simultaneously celebrate the two things this month is revered for: Black people and love. 

Armed with only the information provided by it’s short and enigmatic trailer, I lounged across the 5 pillows on my bed and began the black and white film about Black love. For the most part, I was enjoying myself. The movie’s cinematography is beautiful, the acting is enjoyable, and most of the script, though at a few points tiresome, is engaging. About 50 minutes in, however, I had to hit pause.

TAARIQ | Black History Month: Celebration of Community

The Cornell Black community is filled with intelligence, activism and hard work. By giving just a glimpse of what makes us who we are, I hope that the greater community not only gains more insight on what happens in different pockets of Cornell’s community, but is inspired to celebrate Black History Month as well.

WAITE | The Trivialization of Black History

On the first day of classes, my ASRC 2650 professor commented on the title of his  course: African American Literature. He made a quick joke about how peculiar it would be if literature classes simply entitled “Literature”, were instead titled “Euro-American Literature.” The joke was that whiteness is so pervasively the norm that this class on American literature needed to distinguish itself as black or else it would be assumed to be white. It was one of those jokes that is both funny and slightly depressing. Every POC in the class, including myself, chuckled. This reminded me of a conversation I had my sophomore year of high school.

TAARIQ | Celebrating Black History Month at Cornell

Black History Month, which was officially recognized in the 1970s, is not only a celebration of people and events throughout Black history, but it is also a reminder of the freedom now held by those in the Pan-African diaspora. An accomplishment I feel may be taken for granted. In our modern institutional settings, where Black contributions are oftentimes overlooked, the month of February provides us with an important reminder of where we have come from, and what we can achieve. But what does the view of Black excellence look like from an ivory tower? Cornell University does have a historic commitment to diversity, which is in tune with its mission, “any person … any study,” created during the founding of the University.