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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Black Hollywood Gala celebrates Black excellence in Hollywood

Attendees dance at the Black Student Union Black Hollywood Gala April 20. PHOTO: Dean Watson

St. Joe’s Black Student Union (BSU) hosted its third annual gala April 20 in Cardinal Foley Center. With a theme of Black Hollywood, the event drew approximately 80 attendees donned in their most glamorous outfits. The gala included dancing, a DJ, food, mocktails and a self-service photo booth.

BSU selected Black Hollywood as the theme to celebrate the success and achievements of Black people in a predominantly white Hollywood, said Taryn Bellamy ’24, BSU publicist.

“It’s especially important here because it’s a predominantly white institution,” Bellamy said. “We always want the people of color, especially the Black students, to have a space where they can migrate and all be together and not feel so judged sometimes.”

Lauren Joseph ’27 said she does not often attend events on campus, but she still wanted to go to the gala, so she borrowed her sister’s dress and attended the gala with a friend.

“I like the vibe. I feel like everyone is just really nice,” Joseph said. “Everyone’s dancing, coming up to each other, talking, and I feel like it was really welcoming, so I feel comfortable.”

Another first-time attendee, James Mackey ’26, said he wished he had attended the previous BSU gala in 2023. This year, Mackey said he took pride in his outfit and bedazzled shoes, and enjoyed the self-service photo booth the most.

“Being able to take amazing pictures of my friends with the ring light was really cool, so we can look back at this,” Mackey said.

In addition to the event itself, attendees enjoyed the DJ, food and the opportunity to dress up. Teagan Twum-Ampofo ’25 said all of these aspects play a part in the overall energy of the event.

“[My favorite part] is seeing everybody come in looking good with their cute outfits and having a good time, good vibes” Twum-Ampofo said.

Black Student Union (BSU) members pose for a photo at the BSU Black Hollywood Gala April 20. From left to right: Donavin Gomez ’24, secretary; Sheridan Leak ’25, vice president; Marzani Hall ’24, president; Taryn Bellamy ’24, publicist; Selynne Ochieng ’25, treasurer and Jabez Merritt ’24, chief of communications. PHOTO: Dean Watson

These “good vibes” came at exactly the right time of the semester for Mackey, who said it’s important for both St. Joe’s students and those around the Philly area to experience something like BSU’s gala.

“Especially if [the gala is] thrown at the end of the year where everybody’s going through finals [and] schoolwork, it’s a great time to decompress and have a fun time with everybody around,” Mackey said.

Bellamy said the overall goal of the gala’s theme was to showcase Black excellence, both in Hollywood and on campus, and to provide a deeper appreciation for the organization.

“We just wanted to highlight Black people like we always do,” Bellamy said. “Our thing within BSU is letting people know that Black people are achieving things and doing great things.”

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