Open Mic Night showcases student talent to kick off Black History Month

Issiah Thurman performs tricks in order to wow the judges. The event took place Feb. 7, 2022 at 7 p.m. in the Union Underground.

Black Student Union hosted an open mic night Monday, Feb. 7, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Union Underground. Mashay Vaughn was responsible for organizing BSU’s first event of Black History Month.
Four performers took the opportunity and stepped on stage Monday. Issiah Thurman, a freshman music student, drumming his piece “Go Bods, Love the Bods”, Michelle Sawyer, a sophomore pre-dentistry student, singing “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple”, Tonyce Jackson, a senior integrated studies student, reading her own poetry and Roni Simeon, a freshman kinesiology student, singing an original piece.
The contestants were slightly at odds, competing for restaurant gift cards. The placing was decided by the faculty judges: Verlisa Cradle, Teresa Leslie-Canty and Liz Derrington. Simeon won first, Sawyer was placed in second, Thurman got third and Jackson came in fourth.
However, Open Mic Night’s importance lies elsewhere. The event presented all members of Washburn University the opportunity to showcase themselves and gain some experience.
“We have a lot of students who have many talents that probably don’t know where to go to showcase their talents,” Simeon said. “For a person like me, doing music and who likes to sing, it is a really great opportunity for me to express my talents and show the school and the world what I can do . . . It is really important.”
The organization in general was excited to benefit from this event and the rest of their events in Black History Month. The upcoming events include a movie night, the Black Excellence Ball and the African American history display in the Memorial Union that will be up all month.
“[Open Mic Night] was important to help get our presence known on campus. A lot of other people do not know what Black Student Union is or where to find us,” Sawyer said. “It is important for us to get equipped with the Washburn community.”
Edited by: Ellie Walker and Simran Shrestha