MUs black studies department hosts open mic night

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's Department of Black Studies put on an open mic night Wednesday on MU's campus. The event was called"Fear of a Black Planet", which comes from the popular 90s group Public Enemy. 

Stephanie Shonekan, chair of the department of black studies, said they decided the event was necessary after multiple police shootings involving black people. She said this event is a good way to pause and come together to discuss what has been going on in the last couple of weeks.

"Why we fear a black planet, what it is that we fear about black people, and the aspects of black humanity, why people are frightened by it," Shonekan said. 

"I think it will give Columbia a chance to, one, be part of the conversation, and then two be part of the awareness building," Shonekan said.

Audience members who wanted to speak put their names in a hat to be chosen at random. 

Shonekan said she is always trying to do events like this one so people can build awareness and knowledge. 

The event was posted on the black studies website for those who could not come because of weather or because they were nervous about the event. 

Susan Empson, a faculty member at the MU College of Education, said she came to the event because she wanted to listen and learn. 

"Any opportunity that is provided for members of the community, whether it's through the university or Columbia, to listen, to learn, to get to know each other, is positive, and I think it has to become a way of life," Empson said.