Illuminating Black Excellence

Black History Month 2020: "The Future is Bright Black"

To enlighten. To irradiate. To brighten. These are some of the goals of this year’s Black History Month committee, who strive to shine a light on the past and present contributions of Black students, faculty and staff at NC State.

After a call for students to be a part of this year’s planning committee, students flocked to the first meeting to express their interests and share their ideas with event coordinators in Multicultural Student Affairs. After much brainstorming and collaboration, the committee selected the theme, “The Future is Bright Black,” which not only captures the brilliance of Black culture and excellence, but also emphasizes its multiplicity across the African diaspora. The theme embodies the conviction and hope of the current generation and the role of Blackness, not only on campus, but within the community and across the world.

This year’s Black History Month celebration began with a kick-off in Talley Student Union and featured the various student organizations that serve the various needs of Black students on campus. The event included an information fair, music, games and giveaways.

The month’s celebration will also include AfroFunk: Culture in Motion, which aims to provide a space for Black artists across campus to express themselves and display their art, capturing the essence of Blackness.

To continue the celebration, NC State Athletics will highlight selected legends and luminaries, who are students, faculty and staff nominated for their commitment to supporting and empowering students and causes that uplift the Black community. Nominees will be recognized during Men’s and Women’s Basketball games during the month. The games will also feature student artists and uniforms honoring Black historical figures.

  • Black History Month at NC State Basketball 2020Students and employees get free admission for Women’s Basketball by showing their IDs at the game.
  • Students can register for their free ticket for Men’s Basketball at
  • Purchase additional tickets for both Women’s and Men’s Basketball at

To highlight the expansiveness of Black culture and the African diaspora, NC State Dining will feature traditional cuisine from East Africa on its menu. Delectable foods such as pilau rice, a dish including basmati rice, butter, garlic, turmeric and sea salt and basbousa, a traditional sweet cake made with semolina, milk, sugar, ghee and heavy sugar syrup (and sometimes shredded coconut), will be featured on the menu.

The month’s Chat and Chew discussion will focus on tokenism, its effects on the Black community and its implications for students, faculty and staff.

Black History Month provides the NC State community with an opportunity to commemorate the influence, labor and strength of Black people in the development of this campus and our nation. This annual celebration of Black excellence seeks to provide spaces where all people can revel in the resilience and spirit of what it means to Black in the 21st century while reclaiming the beauty, joy and essence of Blackness.

Our celebration aims to serve as a gleam of optimism and steadfastness in the midst of political dissension and tense race relations, reminding the world that “the Future is Bright Black” and filled with vividness, vibrancy, vigor and an expansive array of possibilities for change, advancement and innovation.

Questions? Contact Leah Young, assistant director for student transition and success in Multicultural Student Affairs.

Taleek Harlee is second-year student in agricultural education with a minor in political science and a student coordinator in Multicultural Student Affairs. Iwinosa Idahor is a graduate student assistant in the Office of Student Success in the College of Education and a doctoral student in educational leadership, policy and human development.