The #BBUM movement started as a social media campaign aimed at providing a space for Black students at the University of Michigan to speak freely about their unique experiences. This year, we were able to showcase our movement through a multitude of mediums including: our social media campaign, the Posting Wall project, the 7 Demands, #BBUM at Yale University, and more recently, our #BBUM Exhibit and Second Aid Extended Playlist (EP). The exhibit displayed photos of Black students at the University and our Second Aid EP features music and poetry written, produced and performed by Black students on campus and beyond. Art has always had its space within our movement; the #BBUM Exhibit and Second Aid that we are sharing with you in this piece are our most ambitious artistic efforts yet.
Chuks Nwamba, Engineering Senior
The #BBUM Exhibit
University of Michigan, 2014
Tyrell Xavier, #BBUM Exhibit Curator and LSA Senior
I am a photographer. I have been a photographer for a while now. But for the past six months I haven’t been a photographer.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, The Black Student Union launched the Twitter campaign #BBUM (Being Black at University of Michigan) with a purpose of amplifying the voices of the neglected 4.6 percent Black students. The campaign brings attention to the fact that marginalized students do not feel at home.
I remember saying to my executive board, at our last meeting before the planned #BBUM hashtag release, “are you sure you want to do this? Because if we do this, our lives as University of Michigan students will not be the same from here on out.” I could not have been more right with that statement.
Everyone working with #BBUM has made so many sacrifices since the start of the campaign. Sleep, time, grades, you name it. Photography is something I gave up, temporarily, for the sake of #BBUM.
As the semester wound down and #BBUM became less time consuming, I was able to pick up my camera again. The #BBUM Exhibit is my first photography project since the launch of the campaign last year. University of Michigan students are photographed at various undisclosed locations on campus.
There was no blueprint going into this project. The true essence of freelance photography. We had our camera. And we had each other. We set out to capture the beauty of our Blackness. Our Blackness, which transcends the crude circumstances of our environment. Enjoy.
Stephon Dorsey – Second Aid Producer, Writer and Artist; Student at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance Sophomore
This was a project that was actually created over the span of a year. The production of Inyosoul and Rule The World began last summer after I returned from Vietnam. A lot of the other tracks began earlier this school year, and about a month and a half before the release. It was all a matter of collecting music we’d already been working on, music that was already being formed by our unique experiences as students, and putting it together.
Kizzie at Columbia College Chicago says: “it’s a blessing to be able to collaborate with others who are the same and have the same mindset toward positivity and elevating one’s mind.”
Second Aid was created to heal the souls of our people. We knew the power of music when creating this EP, and the impact we could have if we simply put our souls in it for a greater cause. We didn’t just want to make music, we wanted it to be worthwhile so we gave it a lot of love.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to work with talented artists for a greater cause.” — Justin Adams, a student at Oakland Community College
Second Aid was produced by GOODSTEPH and The23rd, written by GOODSTEPH, Kizzie Adams, Justin Thomas, Sydney Parinello, and Cherry Tolbert, and mixed by Rob Bisel and GOODSTEPH.
Michigan in Color is the Daily’s opinion section designated as a space for and by students of color at the University of Michigan. To contribute your voice or find out more about MiC, e-mail email@example.com.