Created by Kwapi Vengesayi, the Shades of Black Show is a showcase that celebrates the different textures and dimensions of the culture experience through the performing Arts. The Shades of Black Show is a showcase that attempts to explore culture and identity through mediums of expression such as dance, spoken word/poetry, skits, stepping, song and other forms of performance. This show has found a way to merge entertainment with education, tradition with contemporary values; an insightful and energetic blend of elements that has not only enriched the experience of those performing, but also the experience of those in the attendance.
"What began at the University of Idaho in 2003 is now a touring enterprise making waves across the Northwest."
"What I have particularly appreciated is that everyone who is part of Shades of Black engages the audience. By this I mean that some topics challenge one to reflect on the message while other segments are pure entertainment. Hence, the title could easily be "Our Diverse Experiences in Life" instead of "Shades of Black."
Dale Graden Professor of History and Author at the University of Idaho
"I don't ever want to miss a 'Shades of Black' show again," Martinez said. "The entertainment was great, and it was very eye-opening. I've heard about things that have happened in the black community, but when you sit through a whole presentation like that, it makes you think about things ... how the world is really being impacted by the decisions people make."
The Argonaut Univesity of Idaho Student Newspaper
"This annual event stirs a lot of excitement and participation amongst the students in our centers on campus. Although the name connotes “black” in actuality it’s one of the most diversified events in the Moscow/Pullman area. Our students get so excited planning and practicing their routines in dance, poetry and other art forms. Every year, due to its reputation and entertainment it draws crowds statewide. It’s amazing to see such talent generated by undergraduates from the local colleges and universities who all collaborate in making Shades of Black a success. The vision and leadership of Kwapi make it all possible. This young man believes diversity is the norm and works hard to exhibit this concept in his creation by bringing communities together. He is deserving of all credit and recognition for his efforts. Thanks Kwapi and I look forward to working with you again this coming year."
Donna Arnold Associate Director Office of Multicultural Student Services Washington State University