Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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BSU holds ‘Expressions through Black Art’

Orlando Dominguez/TM
The Garifuna Heritage Cultural Group performed small dance pieces from Central America. After, the audience was encouraged to join in dance with children following along.

Cerritos College’s Black Student Union along with its family and friends honored Black History Month with its presentation of “Black Expressions through Black Art” on Friday at the Student Center.

Guest speakers included entertainment elder Howlettte ‘Smitty’ Smith, Jazz musician and actor.  Smith gave a stirring oration of the strives of past champions of the black movement as well as hope for the future. 

Mandla Kayiseu, CEO and founder of New World Education, gave a spirited speech based on three key black art movements; the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement and the Hip-Hop movement.


“The Hip-Hop movement basically had an impact on every aspect of our society. And it inspired young people again to affirm their identity.” 


His passion for the achievement of future BSU leaders is that they, “learn to fully appreciate each individual they represent. [They] don’t let leadership go to their head and not see themselves above other students that they’re trying to represent.


“I think its important for leadership to be nurturing, to be supportive and to be very personal in nature.”


Vending booths with hand crafted goods from Egyptian Musk soap, incense and hats and hand made jewelry adorned the event. Snacks and raffle tickets were sold as well as a BSU fundraiser. 


Supporters of the event were provided with food, art, music and dancing throughout the night. Awards were given out to family members who have inspired members of the BSU.

Jasmine Right, communications major and historian for the BSU, surprised her grandmother by presenting her with a medal.

“She’s an incredible inspiration to my whole family. And she’s the reason I keep going academically because I know that she created a standard that my whole family has to stand up to.

“She achieved educational success in a time when blacks were oppressed and they couldn’t enjoy school like we can now. She set a foundation and now I have to build on it.”

Benjamin Lewis, English and architecture major provided expressive artwork at the event, “my inspiration comes from my past. Just stuff I’ve seen other people do and other people go through. Just life. And another big influence is music.” 

Lewis said his premier painting titled “Back to the Future” is inspired by his view of some people going back to slavery by forgetting the past. 

Tremel Stewart, former president of the BSU, was very pleased with the ‘Expressions through Black Art’ event. “I’m so excited about how it turned out. We were able to get every vision we were trying to get out tonight. These [people] worked hard and it all showed tonight.”

Stewart is looking forward to future BSU events coming to the campus, saying, “this was just one major step that we were trying to make. But now that this one is over, we’re just going to start that steam roller effect.

“There’s going to be a lot of events coming up next.”

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BSU holds ‘Expressions through Black Art’