What is Black?

By Joy Taylor

The mind behind the ‘What is BLACK campaign’

Kazmirah Gratz (Kaz), a senior journalism and media studies major and the Public Relations chair for the West Indian Student Organization is giving new meaning to the word BLACK.

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In honor of Black History Month, Kaz has launched a social media project that allows students to define what ‘Black’ means to them. She has been gathering students to write and take a picture with the ‘BLACK is _____’ sign and posting them to the WISO Instagram page. “I wanted to do something cool to showcase blackness. We are in a time where embracing blackness is becoming normal and I knew  I could get people who wanted to share with me” she says.

Kaz tells us the purpose of the campaign is to “highlight what students (particularly those who identify as or with the black community) think BLACK means. Firstly, race is a social construct, which means it is completely made up. However we have a history and a story that is so rich that BLACK has become something powerful to us” she says. Black has many different denotations, and also exemplifies much more than a color or race and this project is a great way to tell the world that black means so much more in the eyes of the BLACK community.

Her project has gained the attention of many students and has redefined BLACKNESS through the eyes of the Rutgers BLACK community. “I was hoping to send a message that black identity is important to a lot of people. There are people out there who do not claim their black roots or even know where they are from. I just want people to know it’s okay to say they are black”. Kaz reminds us of that ‘What are you?’ question that always comes about and tells us our answers don’t always have to be tailored to a country of origin. She says, “some people don’t have the luxury of knowing their families are from Jamaica or Nigeria. Some people just identify as BLACK Americans and that’s okay. I want everyone to know that’s just as powerful.”

The heartwarming project has brought many beautiful words and people to life followed by powerful quotes exemplifying all the great things that come with being BLACK.

Make sure you find Kaz and tell the world what BLACK means to you. Happy Black History Month!


BLACK IS _________?

via Instagram: @wiso_ru

 

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