Soulful Tunes: Black History Gospel Hour

Emma Esteb – Staff Writer

The Center for Inclusive Excellence is partnering with the Campus Activities Board to host the Black History Gospel Hour. The event will feature the five time #1 Artist on Billboard as seen on BET, Jovonta Patton from Minneapolis. The Center will host this event in the CIE at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25.

This is an opportunity to hear uplifting Gospel music while also enjoying free food and fellowship. In honor of Black History Month, this event is a perfect way for students to be immersed in the culture.

Guest singer, Patton (instagram: @jovontapatton), was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is deeply rooted in the modern gospel tradition.

He regularly attended church as a child which is where he gained a passion for worship and a strong interest in gospel music, according to Patton is an ordained minister and started the Pop Up Church trend called “The Wave.” He has a new single out called “I Can” that is now available to stream on Spotify.
Assistant Director for the Center of Inclusive Excellence, Kareem Watts wanted to do this event in order to “bring something different to campus as there has never been a Black Gospel artist who has performed at Gustavus, ” Watts said. Gospel music represents triumph, pain, and struggle which are vital themes within African American culture and are important to represent during this month. Gospel music is a part of Black culture and Sunday Church service.
The Gospel music genre has been around since the 17th century where hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Watts said he “actually grew up listening to Gospel hymns, contemporary worship, and rhythm and praise (R & P) music which God used to inspire me to write Gospel centered rap songs and poetry over the past 22 years.” Watts wants to reach out to the entire Gustavus community during this month, but especially to the African American students on campus.
The goal of this event is to inspire and give people hope through music. The CIE and CAB are working together to bring more unity on campus.

The interactive aspect of Gospel music will hopefully fill the CIE with dancing, movement, clapping, and excitement.

The success of the Lyrical Cafés that have happened throughout the year were helpful kickstarts to this event.
CAB Cultural and Diversity Executive, Ella Peterson reached out to Watts and the CIE in order to help co-host this event. In this position, one of Peterson’s main goals is to seek out collaborations with other organizations, especially in regards to diversity. She wanted to be involved during Black History Month and was excited to work with Watts again after helping him with the Humanize my Hoodie event last semester.
This is an opportunity for CAB as they are able to play a supporting role for this event. One of their goals is to “provide a fun space for students to listen to good music, have some good food, and learn about black history while highlighting black excellence.” They want to create a space where people feel valued and welcomed at Gustavus.
With the event taking place in the CIE, both CAB and the members of the CIE want to accentuate the fun space and be surrounded by a big group of people while still emphasizing and centering the experience on Black History Month. Peterson was excited “to have Patton perform since he is a Minnesota native and to have an event centered around Black history and highlighting their experience towards the end of the month of February,” Peterson said.
The Black History Gospel Hour is a unique event that has never been done before at Gustavus. The special guest of Jovonta Patton sets the stage for portraying the Black experiences and highlighting an important part of Black history.
In order to stay engaged and aware of the events happening in the CIE, follow them on instagram @gustavus_thecenter. Watts said he would love to have Patton back on campus and conduct events similar to this one in order to highlight different cultures.

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