The Black Excellence Ball allows the black community of SMU to celebrate the end of Black History Month with fellowship, music, entertainment, and food. Chase Drexler, Association of Black Students’ Co-Programming Chair, has seen the impact this event has had on black students at SMU over the past three years.
“Each year showcases what talented and amazing students we have here,” Drexler said. “Every student we acknowledge is recognized in our own space which is really important for [the black alumni and students] to be here as a family.”
Over 100 students, alumni, staff, and faculty filled The Mack Grand Ballroom on February 29, 2020. The event’s special guest was the Black Alumni of SMU History Maker Award recipient; the recipient being Regina Taylor. Taylor is an actress, playwright, and director who is a Golden Globe award-winner, multiple-time Emmy nominee, and three-time NAACP Image award-winner.
Taylor was excited to be back at SMU and reconnect with the foundation SMU gave her. She was very proud of the impact the Black Excellence Ball has had for both the alumni and students.
“I love that the black alumni have come together to celebrate African Americans on this campus who’ve passed through these halls and are slaying,” Taylor said.
The Black Alumni of SMU honored its two scholarship recipients Crystal Tigney and Nana Seffah. Four students, one staff member, and one student organization were recognized with the Black Excellence Ball’s Legacy Awards. Nia Kamau, a SMU student, won the Anga Sanders Community Impact Award. Kamau expressed how much this award meant to her as well as to the black community.
“The black community here at SMU is so special,” Kamau said. “To be a part of it itself is an honor, and then to be able to be on a stage, receive an award, and inspire others and just represent the black community oh my gosh that’s just the best.”