Java Johnnies “Black Rhapsody”

A celebration of black culture in DAC Living Room


Torch Photo/ Andrew Okinyi

Chevon Guthrie, a senior Journalism major, performs spoken word poetry.

Eduardo Alfonzo, Staff Writer

There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month. Some celebrate it through art; such as reading a poem or drawing some paintings. Others celebrate through musical performances such as hip-hop or dancing. But for this special occasion, many students from St. John’s University decided to celebrate Black History Month by performing during Java Johnnies on Friday afternoon in the D’Angelo Center.

In collaboration with the Caribbean Students Association (CSA) and EDEN, “Java Johnnies: Black Rhapsody” was an event where students could display their talents in celebration of Black culture.

“This is a way to showcase the artist through dance, singing, rapping, spoken-word poetry; we just want to enhance that black is beautiful,” Marvelous Abraham, a junior and co-host of the event, said. “What we want is to encourage more black and brown students to showcase their talents and their works; we want them to shine.”

From rap to singing to a few dance performances, students showcased their talents in front of their friends and peers. Attendees  were served food and drinks to enjoy throughout the night as well.

But, it wasn’t just Black students that performed during the event. Some students of various racial backgrounds  got involved and helped to honor and celebrate Black culture.

Mario Birch, a member of Sensación, the Latin dance team at St. John’s, participated in the Black Rhapsody event to express his passion for dance and culture by combining Black and Latin dance styles in their group performance.

“We provide some entertainment and bring some light to the [latinx] community as well as some other dance community and styles that people may not be aware of,” Birch said. “In every dance, we expect to have dedication to make sure our dances are clean and to make sure our team work together are clean as well.”

Some students brought up several issues that affect the Black community, such as police brutality and segregation.

Raven Jackson, a sophomore English major, read an original poem which talked about the struggles that the Black community has faced, such as the treatment of black youth by the Chicago Police Department.

“When I write, my poetry is always coming from an emotion; so, I kind-of relive what I went through when I create the poem in an initial stage. I get choked up,” Jackson said.

Not only were many students able to showcase their talents to the students and staff in attendance, but they were also able to highlight the beauty and cultural significance of Black History Month, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.