Black Student Movement welcomes new wave of leadership
The Black Student Movement has elected a new president and vice president who are ready to implement fresh ideas and events to keep BSM going strong.
Alex Robinson and Qieara Lesesne, both rising seniors, have been elected to lead BSM as the new vice president and president. This year BSM celebrated their 50-year anniversary with many special events, and the new executive team plans to implement many successful events next year as well.
“At the end of the day the mission of BSM is to advance and meet the needs of Black students,” said incoming Vice President Alex Robinson. “That looks like a lot of different things, we have about 10 subcommittees, and we have five sub-performance groups, and we do a lot of outreach with other organizations. We participate in marches, we sponsored over 20 events during Black History Month in relation to Black history – we just do a lot.”
While a large part of BSM is putting on events for the community, the movement and members of the executive team place a large amount of importance on building relationships with all of its members.
“The primary reason I ran for vice president is because this year, the vice president is going to be working to establish the first-year class council and guide them through it,” Robinson said. “And I know as a student, and especially as a Black student, your first year is extremely integral to your college career. Where you have a start has an affect on where you go. And if we are able to come in early on and show these students that they have a support system within BSM early on when everything is OK, they will know when things get hard, they still have a support system within BSM.”
And while the leadership of BSM may be changing, the mission of the movement will stay the same.
“Carolina is a very large campus,” said Lesesne. “And being a minority on such a large campus means that you're gonna need a place of unification. Because there is such a small amount of us, it means that even though we do come together under this commonality of Black culture, it doesn’t mean that we are all the same type of Black. So with that being said, BSM is important because it serves as one touchpoint, one basepoint, one organization, one name that is tied to all things Black. And I think that one point of solitude or solace is important in an environment where you can be swallowed by being the other.”
The new leaders are excited for future change and improvement in the year to come.
“I am excited to see BSM to continue to improve,” said Robinson. “BSM 50 was such an important year. We did a lot of things, we had a great time and I really think we brought BSM back. And I’m just excited to continue to contribute to that growth.”
Bri Steves on personal sacrifice and empowering women through her music
Only a year ago, Bri Steves was a student at Temple University. Now, she is touring with H.E.R, trying to make a name for herself, women in hip-hop and Black girls everywhere. Assistant arts and entertainment editor Kayla Boswell sat down with Steves before her Sunday show at the Ritz Raleigh to talk music, sacrifice and the industry.
The Daily Tar Heel: When did you start singing, and making music in general?
Bri Steves: Well I started with rapping first. I’ve been rapping for years on and off. With singing I really didn't get into it until about like two years ago. You couldn’t get me to sing before two years ago, I was super nervous about it. But I’ve been doing music for years.
DTH: How has being from Philadelphia had an impact on your music?
BS: It wasn't really a challenge.It was just dope getting to go different places artistically to just build. Being from Philly was dope to grow me as an artist. Coming from the same place as Left Eye, the bar is set high. So if anything it helped me sharpen my skills.
DTH: What do you want your fans to feel when they are listening to your music?
BS: I want them to feel that I am no different than them. I was just in college last year, I was in the same position you guys were in in the audience one year ago. So, I want them to feel she does have the energy but she’s also like me. She could be one of my friends from school, that’s what I want them to take from the show.
DTH: What to you hope your impact will be on the music world to be in the next five or seven years, or even less than that?
BS: I do want to give the industry a little bit more balance especially on the side for women in hip hop. I think my approach to it, I definitely want to go the story telling route. I don’t think you got, besides maybe a person like Rapsody, you don’t have a lot of women in hip-hop who are like storytellers and say a lot of true and relatable stories and put their life into the music, so that’s what I want to do.
DTH: What keeps you going?
BS: Really what keeps me going is just the potential of what I can turn into. I know where I am at now it’s amazing to even get the opportunity to be on this tour with H.E.R. but even being able to do this every night, you know what , I can get better than this stage. I can be better a month from now, I can be better two months from now it’s like a motivator. I can pull more people in. So that’s what motivated me, what can I turn into?
DTH: What is the hardest thing that you’ve had to go through to get to where you are right now?
BS: The hardest thing would have to be the loss of relationships. And loss of sleep; and just the sacrifice part. To get to this point here, I had to do a lot of ground work getting myself prepared and putting it into my craft. So that means a lot of time away from you know, going to parties a lot of time away from just being young, 23, and most cases a step away from people that aren't going in the same direction and don’t view the world the same way. So that was kind of the hardest thing to step back from people in order to pursue music and do what I want to do .
DTH: Has it been worth it?
BS: It has been!
DTH: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
BS: I write music for women. I write music for, number one, brown skin girls that look like me and that may be a little more aggressive in their tone like me. My message to get across is really women’s empowerment. I want girls to not be afraid to be themselves and to know that it is OK to be just as outrageous as you want to be and at the same time you can be a girl. Don’t box yourself into you have to be one type of woman. You can be whatever you want to be.