Brookhaven’s Taste of Soul to center around family reunion theme


Photo by Rosa Poetschke | Carmen McIver, student programs development coordinator, and spectators join the Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble in the International Courtyard for a celebratory dance during Brookhaven College’s 2019 Taste of Soul event held Feb. 27, 2019. The ensemble will return to this year’s taste of soul Feb. 26.

Marsha Gale Hampton, Contributing Writer

Students, staff and faculty will once again have the opportunity to experience African cultures through dances, food, music and games at this year’s “A Taste of Soul Music and Food: The Black Experience Finale.” This event will end the series of Brookhaven College’s celebrations during Black History Month, which was titled The Black Experience.

A Taste of Soul will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Commons Courtyard.

Carmen McIver, student programs development coordinator, said she wants to bring a family reunion theme to campus. She said she has a large family that holds cookouts where food, music and games play important parts. A Taste of Soul will be a nostalgic look at one of those family reunions.

Hot dogs, hamburgers and baked beans will be served and card game tables will be set up for all to play.

Soul, reggae, R&B, hip-hop and jazz music will be played throughout the festival. The Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble will perform songs and dances of Africa and lead line dancing.

McIver said about 300 people attended last year’s Taste of Soul. She said some professors brought their classes to the event.

Brian Borski, director of student life, said it was very interesting and fun to see the dancers involved with the crowd last year. He said he looks forward to attending this year’s event.

Donna Crenshaw, college tutor coordinator, said last year’s event was colorful. The drummers and dancers were clothed in bright yellow African attire with red and purple prints.

Hannah Wall, a student and special events coordinator for the Campus Activities Board, said flags from different African countries were displayed and maps showed the origins of music that was played.

Wall said: “It was a really cool way for international students to see and participate. … They got to see a piece of their home here.”

She said she wants to bring a sense of community to Brookhaven through A Taste of Soul. She said she takes pride in her culture and that it is important for her to show who black people are through food, music, dance and family values. “Black people need to be heard and recognized,” McIver said. “We need better inclusion and equality in this country.”

Other Black History Month events at Brookhaven included two film screenings, a black owned business fair and the annual African American Read-In. Borski said it is good to see so many events celebrating Black History Month this year.