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The Black History Month Celebration Game

image from AU Men's Basketball Instagram (@au_mbasketball)

American University’s Feb. 4 basketball game against the Bucknell Bisons was the University’s tip-off to Black History Month. Called “Love, Basketball, and African Culture,” this was the first of three games within the next week to be labeled as “Black History Month Celebration Games.

The singing of the Black National Anthem started the celebration surrounding the game.  The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was performed by Ryan Flood, a 2014 alum of the university’s School of Communications. Following this was the tip-off of a back-and-forth physical game, with the first half ending with American leading Bucknell 32-22.

The halftime show was the peak of the celebration game, with three performances during the 15-minute break highlighting Black and African culture. The first was a stroll performance by the Nu Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. Dressed in their black and gold, the Alphas strolled at center court to Boosie Badazz’s “Wipe Me Down.”

Following this were two separate acts from the DC chapter of the Kappa Phi Alphas. The Nupes, wearing black suits with hints of burgundy and white, started with a step act and followed by strolling.  After the Nupes finished their performance, the halftime show finale commenced. American University’s African dance team, Les Couers D’Afrique, took over the show for the last few minutes of halftime.  In all-black outfits touched with African printed scarves, Les Couers D'Afrique danced to an Afrobeats mix, including the hit song “Truth or Dare” by Tyla.

Returning to the battle between American and Bucknell, the commentator acknowledged the Black Alumni Association, and the arena played some classic Black anthems, including Fast Life Yungstaz's “Swag Surfin’.”  As the second half progressed, the game got closer, and the game was tied 62-62 with 35 seconds remaining.  American and Bucknell each made and missed one free throw to end regulation, taking the game into overtime.

Unlike the back-and-forth play of the first two halves, overtime played out entirely in American’s favor.  While Bucknell only scored three points in these five minutes, American took over, scoring 12 points and coming out victorious with a 75-66 win over the Bisons. 

The University’s “Love, Basketball, and African Culture” game was an overtime thriller filled with celebrations of Black culture and bleachers combined with American University students and alum coming to support.

The February 4 game was bigger than just a game of basketball.  For the Eagles, it was a statement victory, moving them along the ranks of the Patriot League.  The Black students and alum in attendance enjoyed each other’s company and a celebration of their culture, and everyone else in the crowd enjoyed a high-scoring, intense game between two divisional rivals.


Marley Joseph is a first-year broadcast journalism major from Harlem, New York. Having a passion for writing, and being involved with minority groups at American, he was immediately drawn into writing for The BlackPrint.

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