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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Student Government Association, in conjunction with Falling Black in Love and a host of student organizations and university departments, will host the fifth annual Falling Black In Love Conference from Saturday, April 12 through Friday, April 18.
The conference’s mission is to uplift, motivate and unify the black community and bring awareness to such issues as civic responsibility, health and wellness and supporting black-owned businesses.
The conference will feature presenters and speakers from around the nation, including: actress Tika Sumpter (“Sparkle,” “Ride Along“ and “The Haves and Have Nots”); the family of Oscar Grant, the Oakland, Calif. native whose life and tragic death is recounted in the Sundance award-winning film “Fruitvale Station;” AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton and FAMU alumna and celebrity publicist Arian Simone.
On April 12, the FAMU Chapter of the Collegiate 100 will present “100 Ways to Please a Woman” at the Southside Arts Complex at 2 p.m. This etiquette seminar will teach men how to treat, respect and appreciate women. FAMU alumnus and author Enitan Bereola II will be the keynote speaker. Bereola is the author of "BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette Book for the Urban Sophisticate" and “Gentlewoman: Etiquette for a Lady, from a Gentleman.
On April 14, at 7 p.m., there will be a private screening of “Fruitvale Station” in the FAMU Grand Ballroom. This screening is themed: “Where Do We Go From Here?,” and will include a panel discussion on community action, police brutality and civil responsibility. The panel will feature the Grant family, the Tallahassee chapter of the Dream Defenders and representatives from the FAMU Police Department.
On April 15, at 7 p.m., “Blowing off STEAM: Dispelling Stereotypes through Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics” will be held at the FAMU Grand Ballroom.
Blowing off S.T.E.A.M. combines the arts and sciences and allows FAMU students to come together to showcase their talents and learn about research opportunities from various fields across the arts and STEM fields. FAMU faculty members will present on the topics of “The Physics of Movement” and “The Science of Music.”
On April 16, “Health, Yes!,” will be presented in honor of the late Kristopher Gibson, a FAMU alumnus, and will include a bone marrow drive on April 16 at the Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Student Recreation Center from 5-9 p.m. The mission of the drive is to bring awareness to the importance of bone marrow donations in the black community. “Health, Yes!” will also include YOGA 100, an initiative to engage 100 men and women in the practice of yoga. It will also feature a natural hair forum.
On April 17, the Minority Alliance Advocating Community Action (MAACA) will co-sponsor “The Original Scandal: Rae Lewis-Thornton and the Impact of AIDS 20 Years Later” in the FAMU Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. Thornton, an HIV/AIDS activist, author and entrepreneur, will discuss the impact of HIV and AIDS in the black community. Her presentation marks 20 years since she shocked the world by appearing on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine revealing that she was HIV positive and living with AIDS.
The conference will conclude on April 18 with the “The Return of the Soul Bowl: A Student-Owned Business Exposition” at 11 a.m. on the FAMU Set and “Does Pretty Hurt?,” a panel discussion hosted by Simone’s FEARLESS Movement at 7 p.m. The panel will include a discussion on the price of beauty and colorism within the black community. Panel guests include: Sumpter; psychology expert and FEARLESS editor Jenay Sermon; beauty consultant Ashia Everett and make-up artist Siteria Gregory. The discussion will be streamed live on FAMCast. Several beauty and cosmetics companies will also attend, including the The Lip Bar, a lipstick company owned by FAMU alumna Melissa Butler, Coffee Cosmetics and Victoria’s Secret.