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IU Northwest offers exciting lineup of Black History Month events

Popular magic show, Battle of the Legends concert headline February activities


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Charles Sheid

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Office of Multicultural Affairs

The Indiana University Northwest campus will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of insightful and entertaining programs in February, including a soul-food brunch, a “Battle of the Legends” cover concert, and, in a special return engagement, “The Spellbinder,” master illusionist Walter King, who shall present his show “The Legacy of Black Magicians” in the Savannah Auditorium.

Also, the Office of Student Life and Athletics and the IU Northwest chapter of Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society of Leadership and Success, will host the Society’s upcoming Live Speaker Event on Tuesday, Feb. 23, beginning at 6 p.m. in Raintree 102. Bestselling author and award-winning speaker Bertice Berry, Ph.D., will deliver an address that will be broadcast live from IU Northwest to more than 200 college campuses nationwide.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, IU Northwest will welcome back to campus a truly magical performer, “The Spellbinder,” master illusionist Walter King. This free, family-friendly show begins at 1 p.m. in the Savannah Auditorium.

Through his show, “The Legacy of Black Magicians,” King will introduce the audience to such legendary past African-American magicians as Fetaque Sanders, “The First Lady of Magic” Ellen Armstrong, and escape artist Wilmont Barklay, among others. The Spellbinder uses illusions and state-of-the-art special effects to bring the history of African-American magical performers, from the 19th century to the present day, to life in a stunning performance that must be seen to be believed.

On Sunday, Feb. 21, Black History Month at IU Northwest will move from magic to music as local talents compete at the Battle of the Legends concert, to be held in Savannah Auditorium beginning at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for this free event, in which the audience will crown the new “King of Love” after hearing the talented local performers of today channel the musical vibe and energy of such timeless performers as Barry White, Luther Vandross, Jackie Wilson and others!

The show begins with the smooth sounds of David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks in a special tribute, followed by a preliminary “battle” between the songs of Sam Cook and Jackie Wilson. The main event will feature local singers Antone Drain, covering Barry White, and Greg Gibbs, singing Luther Vandross, as they battle for the hearts and cheers of the crowd.

The audience will decide the winners in this contest of classics, sponsored by the IU Northwest Black Student Union and the Department of Minority Studies. This event is free and open to the public, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

On Feb. 23, IU Northwest will serve as the host site for a presentation by Bertice Berry, author of such books as “I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head,” and the hilarious bestsellers “Sckraight From the Ghetto: You Might Be Ghetto If” its sequel, “You STILL Ghetto,” and her latest work, “The Ties that Bind: A Memoir of Race, Redemption and Memory.”

This appearance is part of the Live Speaker Series hosted by the National Society of Leadership and Success, of which IU Northwest is a member, and it will be broadcast to more than 200 other college campuses. Tickets are free, but attendees must RSVP by calling (219) 980-6755. Audience members must arrive no later than 5:50 p.m. in order to be seated in the auditorium, but overflow seating will also be available for the live broadcast.

Formerly a professor at Kent State University, Berry has earned a national Comedian of the Year Award, among other honors, and served as host and co-producer of her own syndicated talk show, “The Bertice Berry Show.” She has also appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” and ABC’s “20/20.”

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the Office of Multicultural Affairs will host “A Taste of Soul Food” at the Moraine Student Center beginning at 11 a.m., followed by “Steppers Lessons” for those who would like to learn the skill and style of this exciting dance form.

At “A Taste of Soul Food,” participants will be able to receive free tickets for a sampling of three of the following items: jerk chicken; macaroni and cheese; candied yams; catfish nuggets; greens; corn bread muffins; peach cobbler; and turkey with gravy. The food will be provided by Dustie’s Soul Food out of Illinois. The Stepper lessons will follow.

Black History Month events at IU Northwest are sponsored by the Office of Diversity Programming and the Diversity Programming Series, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Student Life and Athletics, the Black Student Union, and the Department of Minority Studies. All events are free to the public; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.