Wanawake Weusi to Host Inaugural 5C Black Arts Festival

In the past year, 12 Years A Slave hit the big screen, accompanied by Fruitvale Station and The Butler. Beyoncé’s new album made waves in the arts and entertainment industry. Daysha Edewi SC ’14 explains that 2013 can be considered “a year of triumph in black art.” Yet, even amid this success, culturally appropriative performances by Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry also created waves. 

“I don’t think that’s what black is,” said Edewi, the 5C events coordinator for Wanawake Weusi. 

Wanawake Weusi, a student group at Scripps College for women of color, is organizing the 5C Black Arts Festival, which will take place April 4. The event will provide an opportunity for students across the 5Cs to contribute art, music, videos, and performances that explore the idea of blackness and its representations in the media. 

The Facebook page for the event lays out the following questions: “Is it only ‘twerking’ and ‘hip-hop music’ or can there be more to the representation of blackness in the media? How has it been represented in years past and where are we now?” 

According to the Clubs and Organization page on the Scripps website, Wanawake Weusi “supports the social-economic, social-political and spiritual well-being of women of color” and “aims to empower women of color in leadership positions, to educate women at Scripps and the five colleges about issues concerning women of color, to be an active voice for women of color at Scripps, and to participate actively in issues concerning women and women’s rights.”

This year marks Wanawake Weusi’s 40th anniversary, and a celebration will take place in Scripps’ Margaret Fowler Garden. 

“It is a safe space for them to talk about issues, hang
out, de-stress, and make new friends,” Edewi said. 

her role as events coordinator, Edewi has been working to increase the
group’s visibility across the 5Cs. The
Black Arts Festival aims to involve students from across the consortium, and hopes to make community dialogue a large part of the festival.  

dialogue “should be open to not just black students,” Edewi said, adding that the club believes all students can benefit from the creation of this forum for artistic and cultural exchange. 

The festival will feature a studio art exhibit in Seal Court from 12 p.m to 3 p.m. Later on in the day, there will be performance and video art at the Motley Coffeehouse from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

will have the opportunity to vote on the best piece in four categories: studio
art, video art, music, and performance art. Each of the winners will receive a $50
Amazon gift card. There will be honorable mentions, and all submitters will
receive vouchers for Hilltop Jamaican Cuisine, which is catering lunch at the festival.

don’t have to compete if you don’t want your work judged,” Edewi said.

The last date for submissions is March 23. Submissions will be reviewed until March 28, and applicants will be informed of their acceptance March 29. The artworks that are chosen will be collected from March 31 to April 2. 

Though Edewi
is graduating this year, she hopes that the Black Arts Festival will become “a
yearly thing” and that next year’s leadership will carry it forward. She also hopes to see further sponsorship for Wanawake Weusi in coming years, as well as more 5C club involvement in the festival. 

Anyone can submit works by visiting the Facebook page, which is titled
“Wanawake Weusi Presents the 2014 Black Arts Festival.” The page has a link to a
Google form that participants can fill out. For
more information, Wanawake Weusi can be reached at blackartsfestival2014@gmail.com.   

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