Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast community performs at Bridges "Here/Hear Our Voices" diversity showcase

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Kennedee Nash performs "I Know Where I've Been" from the musical Hairspray. Hairspray was the first musical that Nash saw that had someone look like her and that talked about race issues.
Photo by Alyssa Lunsford

The Southeast community was invited to a night of performances celebrating both Black History Month and Women’s History Month. The 3rd-annual “Bridges” diversity showcase was held at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 in Rose Theater.

The showcase included an interpretive dance, song and poetry reading, all to bridge Black History Month and Women’s History Month. The theme of this year's showcase was “Here/Hear Our Voices.”

Assistant professor of acting and voice Roxanne Wellington is a committee member of the Holland College of Arts and Media Diversity and Inclusion committee, which planned the “Bridges” showcase. Wellington said this event is meant to share diverse perspectives.

“I really feel like the generation before me from the ‘60s were very passionate women, and then I feel kind of in my own time period, experience growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it didn't feel it was that way,” Wellington said. “We didn't feel as empowered as I feel like this generation is. [They are] really saying, ‘We’re here. We're owning our voice and demand to be seen and heard.”

Southeast student Kennedee Nash sang the song "I Know Where I've Been" from the musical "Hairspray" as part of the showcase. “Hairspray” was the first musical Nash said she saw that featured “someone who looked like her” in it, and the first musical that talked about the issues concerning race in the world.

Nash performed for the first time at the “Bridges” event this year and said she was thankful for the opportunity.

“It's amazing the fact that they see us, hear us and understand us. How they give us a platform to show it is beautiful and amazing,” Nash said. “When Roxanne said, ‘Hey, I really want you to sing in this,’ it just made me feel like I was heard.”

Grace Khayati performs "Omar Sharif" by The Band's Visit during the Bridges event Feb. 28.
Photo by Alyssa Lunsford

Assistant professor of English Sandra Cox read excerpts from feminst thinker and poet bell hooks’ poems while a slideshow of prints by various artists, including department chair of art and design Nancy Palmieri, played behind her. The series of prints were inspired by bell hooks. The Visual Elegies art prints were curated by professor of art and design Joni Hand and will be on display until March 21 in the Arts Complex Gallery of the Southeast Arts Annex.

Audience members cheered on performers throughout the event. Audience members Ramona Bailey and Michele Jackson said "the event meant everything to them."

“I feel like if they had had this when I was going to school here 20 years ago, maybe my first run at school would have been a little easier [and] better,” Bailey said.

Jackson said the video “FOR US” created by The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) meant a lot.

“When they do speak, it’s loud, because they’ve gone so long without. This is important for young people in general to express their talent, express their voices and all,” Jackson said.

To learn more about the HCAM Diversity and Inclusion Committee and their resources for students, view their website.