'Mizzou Happy' video kicks off Black Love Week at MU

Monday, April 14, 2014 | 5:53 p.m. CDT; updated 12:42 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the Legion of Black Collegians.

COLUMBIA — MU's Legion of Black Collegians* will host several events this week as part of Black Love Week.

The series happens each spring and is meant to foster "black positivity," legion member India Simpson said. "It's important because a lot of programs at MU don't cater to the wants and needs of black students. It gives us a presence on campus."

To promote the events, Legion of Black Collegians member Curtis Taylor Jr. posted a video to YouTube on Sunday night titled "Mizzou Happy." The video, filmed by MU senior Jordan Williams, features students dancing around MU and downtown Columbia to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy." A brief message at the end encourages viewers to participate in Black Love Week.

Taylor chose the song because he felt like it promoted an "all-inclusive love," he said. "Black love isn't just for African-American students."

Minutes after the video went online, #MizzouHappy started trending on Twitter, Taylor said. MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also tweeted a link to the video, which had a little more than 2,000 views at 4:30 p.m.

"The response really took me by storm," Taylor said. "It just made my day."

The events began Sunday with a brunch at the Gaines/Oldham Black Cultural Center, and a panel discussion followed on Monday. Legion of Black Collegians will host an event each day of the week:

  • "Smoke and Mirrors" will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesday at the Black Culture Center. Participants will walk through dark, smoky rooms while negative images of black culture appear. At the end, the smoke will clear and positive images will replace the negative ones. 
  • An entrepreneurial competition, like the ABC show "Shark Tank," will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the MU Student Center.
  • "Camp Out Against Violence" will take place from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday on the front lawn of the Black Culture Center. Organizers encourage attendees to bring sleeping bags and tents.
  • Spike Lee's movie "School Daze" will be screened at 6 p.m. Friday in the Black Culture Center.
  • A barbecue will be begin at noon Saturday in Cosmo-Bethel Park. There will be free food, entertainment and games.

All the events are free, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.

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