Coach Creer reflects on BSM’s Black History Month

Myles Wahlquist

Connor Rahill, Staff Writer

This year for Black History Month, Coach Joe Creer led BSM in celebrating black culture and history. Focusing on the history of music and dance, Creer presented students and staff with a series of videos teaching the importance of the African drum and the effect it has had on our society. 

Creer decided to highlight the drum because he believes it has influenced the culture of music and dance in a way that everyone can understand. “The drum is universal. Everybody can relate to the drum, and I wanted to have a topic that everyone can relate to,” Creer said.

Creer hopes that students can benefit from these videos by thoroughly understanding the history of the drum and allowing that knowledge to help them in the future. “If you don’t know the history of the past, then you’re gonna struggle in the future,” Creer said.

One video featured the Umoja Percussion Unit, a local band of Black percussionists. They explained their story as a group and the significance of music in their lives. Creer showed students this video because he believes it’s important for students to understand the culture of music and its relevance today. He wants to allow students to experience other cultures and expose them to practices they aren’t accustomed to. “I like to show people different styles, different stuff, open their eyes … why should we be limited to certain things?” Creer said.

Another of the videos presented explained the history and significance of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the first international fraternity founded on a Historical Black College & University campus. Creer and his family have been legacy members of the fraternity for decades; his uncles and father are part of the fraternity, and now his son, Breion Creer, is part of Omega Psi Phi as well. “That fraternity is very dear to … all the way back through my family history,” Creer said.

Omega Psi Phi celebrates Black history through music and dance. “What we do now is ‘stepping.’ It’s a similar thing. In the history of the Gumboots in Africa … they couldn’t talk when they were being controlled by the British and what they used their boots for is to communicate with each other to show symbolism and have fun,” Breion Creer said.  

COVID-19 inhibited Creer’s plan for this year’s Black History Month celebration, but he hopes students can still understand the impact of his messages. “COVID really hurt what I really wanted to do because … I wanted to bring [TKO Drumline] in to play live so you can feel it. … I would like to make it more personal so you can feel [the drum],” Creer said.

Next fall, Creer would like to start reaching out to students and see what they want to see in next year’s celebration. He believes students would be more willing to tune into the celebration if they were able to choose what they would learn about. “If I reach out in August and September and start working on Black History Month stuff then, I think everybody will be more a part of it,” Creer said.