Black History Jeopardy Spurs Debate On Pop Culture And Past Facts and Fictions

As the question, “Did O.J. do it?” flashed on the screen, students burst into animated debate. After each team had settled on an answer, a single word, “No,” appeared on the projection, sending the teams into another round of argument.

“I think the funniest part was the ‘Did O.J. do it?’ question because that brought up some heated responses. People were very passionate about their answers. There was a lot of disagreement. I think it was funny because a lot of people weren’t expecting that,” said Ava Stills ’19, a board member of the Afro-Latinx-American Society (Af-Lat-Am.)

Last Friday, Af-Lat-Am held its first ever Black History Jeopardy in the office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD) in honor of Black History Month. The game, in the form of a Kahoot, provided insight into different facets of black history and allowed participants to discuss heavy topics in an enjoyable and memorable way.

“We didn’t want to do a workshop or a lecture because we thought less people would have shown up to that. And not only that, but it wouldn’t have been more fun and the information itself wouldn’t have stuck. But in a playfully competitive environment, people would retain the information better,” said board member Ashley Alvarez ’20.

The game also featured questions concerning black pop culture icons such as Drake, Rihanna, and Beyonce as well as aspects of the Andover community. Some questions were more open-ended, encouraging reflection and discussion.

“It wasn’t what I had anticipated. I thought it would be a lot about black history trivia, but a lot of it was pop culture-centered. There was a question,
‘Did Michael Jackson bleach his skin?’ or ‘Did O.J. do it?’ or ‘Who has more singles: Beyonce or Rihanna?’ It was stuff like that that you wouldn’t have expected. There were questions like ‘When did Malcolm X get assassinated?’ It was varied enough to keep my attention,” said participant Aissata Bah ’20.
“I think what we wanted to get across was that history, though it is based on fact, is also open for discussion, and it’s also open for interpretation, especially current events and things that are happening on campus, which is why we incorporated a few of the questions,” said Alvarez.

Throughout this month, AfLat-Am will continue to promote awareness of black history and arts. According to Alvarez, she hopes that an event similar to this one will take place in future years as a fun way to learn new information.

“I feel that when you’re commemorating Black Arts Month, it should be celebrated campus-wide because black arts history is something that has affected America greatly and is part of American culture,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez continued, “However, there are many classes that do not incorporate black history, and that’s something that’s still happening at [Andover], which is why this month is extremely important. It brings attention to black arts history and how it’s black arts history and not American history. Even though it is a huge part of the history, it’s not a huge part of the textbook.”