‘For the Culture’ event brings Black History Month to Ale

Ale event raises money for Black Business Professionals Association

‘For the Culture’ was advertised entirely on Facebook.
Supplied by Nelkas Kwemo

To kick off Black History Month, Ale House hosted its first ever ‘For the Culture’ event to celebrate Black culture and history as well as raise $2,000 for Black student scholarships. 

The event took place on Feb. 1 after being advertised throughout that week by two members of the Queen’s Football Team, Nelkas Kwemo, Sci ’18, and Marquis Richards, ArtSci ’19. 

“The idea behind celebrating was that we know there’s a lot of seriousness that comes out of Black History Month and there will be lots of serious moments regarding [Martin Luther King Jr.’s] speech, activist movements and civil rights, but we just wanted to shed light on that and celebrate,” Kwemo said. 

Both employees at Ale House, Kwemo and Richards credited the management there with the initial idea for the event and spearheaded the logistics thereafter. 

“Some of the owners were thinking if Ale House stood behind the idea of supporting the Black community by making an event and having T-s hirts, it would send a good message,” Kwemo said. “I called Marquis up and told him this was something we could do together with our influence and our capacity of organization, we thought we could get behind this and make it successful.”

To market the idea, the two reached out to members of the football team as well as their social circles to increase awareness through circulation on social media. 

“We talked to our teammates who are younger and have a lot of influence in their years and had them use their social media outlets to market our tickets and talk about the event as much as possible,” Kwemo said. “They had a stake in this too because they wanted this to be successful, they are Black students as well so they see the importance of shedding light on this event.” 

The $2,000 raised from the event was given to the Black Business Professionals Association (BBPA) to increase funding for scholarships for Black students. 

According to their website, BBPA is a “non-profit, charitable organization that addresses equity and opportunity for the Black community in business, employment, education and economic development.”

The idea to donate directly to the BBPA came from Kwemo’s past experience with the organization. 

“It’s an organization that I found out about because my brother is a recipient of a scholarship here at Queen’s for Black people,” he said. He felt it would be a “good time to raise money through this event and donate it and see this event come full circle. For and back to Black businesses.” 

“I had the opportunity to succeed in the academic realm but not everybody from the Black community has that opportunity,” Richards said. “We want to see more Black individuals in institutions like this pursuing their academic goals and be able to accomplish what they want not [be] limited by their lack of resources.”

Reflecting on the night’s turnout, both Richards and Kwemo believe it was successful despite the restricted amount of time they had to advertise the event. 

“We had the cumulative sum of people step through Ale that night [reach] 400 to 500 people,” Kwemo said. “If we had marketing for a whole three or four days we may have been able to sell the wholebar. With that being said, with what we had, it was a success.”

“I do think it was a success,” Richards added. “But it was also the first time we’ve ever done this. We always wish for the success in that it’ll be enough to bring the event back next year. We’re just hoping for bigger and better.” 

Both wished to extend their appreciation to members of the football team, and peers who helped advertise the event. 

“I appreciate the Ale House management and owners, and for them to stand behind what we stand for it sets a good example for everyone else,” Kwemo said.

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