MC Celebrates Black History Month with Open Mic Night

Freshman Will Lamparelli preforms standup. Photo by Lindsay Burns
Freshman Will Lamparelli preforms standup. Photo by Lindsay Burns

Jaspers filled Café 1853 to be entertained with a multitude of performances at Open Mic Night on Feb. 27. February is Black History Month and Manhattan College’s Diversity Committee wanted to do something special to help celebrate this rich culture.

“We had the luncheon last week, but we wanted to do something special for the students in lieu of the event and in lieu of the month of celebration,” said the head of the Diversity Committee Sujey Batista.

“We wanted to remain within the tradition of African American culture and heritage, and we thought the Open Mic Night would be the perfect event for the college and the committee to hold,” she said.

There was a wide variety of acts that participated, including several poetry recitations, stand-up comedy and musicians performing both original songs and covers.

“We have over a dozen performers tonight, almost all students, and a few are doing more than one segment. We have a really nice lineup,” Batista said. “We have comedians, singers, musicians, and even a young 12-year-old girl who is a professor’s daughter who is coming to sing!”

Maya Katyajini, the 12-year-old girl, was a crowd favorite with her opera and jazz rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” and instantly wowed the crowed with the maturity of her voice.

“My favorite part was the 12-year-old girl who was singing opera, that was fantastic!” said freshman Vincenzo San Lorenzo Benzo who was a part of the audience.

Although the event was put together in honor of Black History Month, there was great diversity in every single act throughout the night.

“I did stand-up. I didn’t really talk about black history, I just told jokes,” said freshman Will Lamparelli, one of the two comedians of the night.

Also adding to the diversity of the night were Therese Kelly and Sheena Mullan, who performed traditional Irish songs on the fiddle and banjo respectively.

Between all of the acts, DJ Christopher Calabro set the mood with his selection of classic, crowd-pleasing 90’s songs that everyone sang along to.

The master of ceremonies for the night, Shaniece Gibson, got the crowd involved with black history trivia questions, and everyone eagerly participated.

The Open Mic Night was well put together and it was clear that a lot of hard work went into the event.

“A fair amount of work went into setting this event up, but I think the Lasallian tradition is to give back and to give your time to serve the college community, so that’s what I have been doing with the help of the rest of the committee,” Batista said.

Although Batista was a little disappointed that there was another cultural event happening on campus during Open Mic Night, she had a positive outlook on the event and was excited for it to finally happen.

“It would be great to have all of the community come to one event instead of having to split people. That was unfortunate, but we’re staying positive and we know our event is going to be great!” Batista said prior to the event, and it definitely was a success.