Black Arts Festival finale electrifies Queen's Head

by Minji Kim

[] The electrifying three-day celebration that was the 12th annual Black Arts Festival ended with a bang at the Queen’s Head Pub Saturday night. Co-sponsored by the Women’s Center and the Kuumba Singers, "Sing It: A Celebration of Black Women in Music," a live concert, was the best alternative to Harvard’s typical weekend shenanigans I’ve ever experienced.The Queen’s Head had transformed into an intimate live music café decked in BAF paraphernalia showing the "Sankofa" symbol—a bird flying forward, its head looking back. Performances by artists including alumni Kelley Nicole ’02 and Diane Ghogomu ’09, undergraduate Tsion Aberra ’11, and The Love Experiment from the New England Conservatory, covered everything from smooth soul and jazz to funky rock and R&B.In addition to the unbelievable amount of talent concentrated in those three hours, what made the event really touching and inspiring was the palpable, contagious enjoyment of the musical artists onstage. Conversing with the crowd, transitioning from song to song with personal stories and quips, the performers broke down the barrier between stage and audience. And their performances felt like they were coming from a genuine love of song. With the crowd dancing to the heart-pumping music by the end of the night, in the company of friends and an abundance of good food, the concert was more a laid-back, uplifting dance party than a sit-down performance—an excellent way to wind down and relax a bit during midterm season.