African Student Council brings artist group to campus

Courtesy / The Strivers Row

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / The Strivers Row

Leah Mitchell

Spoken word artists are artists that experiment and collaborate with words, music and poetry. They are artists that use emotion and vibrant rhythm to convey a message. The Strivers Row is a group of spoken word artists from the middle of New York, and it is coming to Grand Valley State University to share its message with the college community.

On Jan. 19, The Strivers Row will be performing in Kirkhof Center’s Grand River Room at 7 p.m., courtesy of GVSU’s African Student Council.

With work that has been featured at the White House, the Sundance Film Festival, the Kennedy Center, the HBO series “Brave New Voices” and multiple venues across the globe, The Strivers Row is well known among students at GVSU, including senior Stephanie Brown.

“I’m ecstatic; they are some of my favorite poets,” Brown said. “It is so interesting that they are in their younger 20’s and super intelligent. They are such a creative and passionate set of individuals that have a social consciousness integrated in their poetry. They acknowledge different races and the current social issues as well.”

Upon touring the globe, these young poets are not afraid to confront challenging topics such as racial discrimination, poverty and homophobia within their work.

The group hosting the artists at GVSU is similarly focused on cultural topics.

With close to 30 members in the African Student Council, this group promotes the overall culture of Africa. Part of this culture is remaining hospitable and welcoming people of all races. Standard meetings are broken up into sections that include welcoming new attendees, having an all-inclusive discussion about hot topics, such as issues brought up in class, everyday events or something that is going on in Africa at that moment in time.

Before, during and after The Strivers Row performance, donations will be accepted in order to benefit Clubhouse International, a nonprofit organization based around helping children in Zambia and Zimbabwe. As a former GVSU student, Musa Milupi helped develop the nonprofit in order to “provide betterment opportunities for young men and women in impoverished communities through the recreational activities they hold dear.”

As a whole, the African Student Council strives to support Clubhouse International whenever possible, including during its two annual dinner dances.

Despite feeling the pressure for this night to work out well, Chinyere Aririguzo, president of the African Student Council, has high anticipation for the night and for her favorite poet’s performance.

“While randomly searching on YouTube, I found Alysia,” Aririguzo said. “She is a lyricist and is absolutely amazing. With Strivers Row, there are so many things that they like to bring to the cusp and make people aware of. They are students our age, and willing to talk to anyone who wants to talk to them.”

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