• Le Tran

RSO Feature: BMCP

Afia Abrafi, a junior studying political science with an African American studies minor, is the Vice President of Black Mass Communication Project, better known as BMCP on campus. BMCP is known for their awesome campus events, notably the upcoming Homecoming party, as well as the renowned Soulfest week that happens in the spring.

The mission of BMCP is to “provide the University of Massachusetts Amherst student body opportunities and experiences of Hip Hop music and culture through means of hosting events, workshops, and socials as to help keep Black music alive.”

This is Afia’s first time on BMCP’s E-Board and there’s a lot that goes into planning for the org’s events, from getting the green light though the university or appealing to all of their audiences at UMass and beyond. BMCP strives to connect students across the northeast region, UMass is one of the largest institutions in the Northeast. Although it can be tough to manage such a large organization, she has been able to learn so much from it.

Being a part of BMCP has led Afia to have something to do that’s not related to her major and is enjoyable. She enjoys the stress relief from academics while also gaining many transferable skills. Her leadership role has led her to grow, both professionally and personally.

Why did she want to join BMCP?

“I grew submerged in African culture, and I mean like African culture and not like Black Culture, so through that I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and get introduced to a culture that I wasn’t familiar with”.

In her freshman and sophomore year, Afia participated as a general body member, but decided she wanted to pursue a leadership position with hopes of bettering the organization and giving her ideas a chance to flourish.

According to Afia, BMCP allows students across all majors, all disciplines, all backgrounds to come together.

“It is so cool to see all different types of people of color to come out to Soulfest or Homecoming. It is a good way to embrace the culture.”

As for the future, Afia says BMCP is only getting “bigger and better.” Every year, the group tries to top themselves, whether that is with promotional skills or thinking about exploring new ideas or events, such as intersecting different identities with hip-hop culture.

“There has been a lot of dances and poetry that have stemmed from hip-hop culture; there are a lot of mediums that we don’t typically explore… I am excited to see how the organization will adapt to that.”

Afia wants to have more inclusivity when we talk about hip-hop — whereas male artists and DJs are considered the norm, Afia envisions a more inclusive representation of female musicians, hosts and DJs coming to campus. Female rappers have always made waves for hip-hop culture, she says, and it is important that these women get the same recognition and spotlight.

Adding to this idea of inclusivity, Afia notes that the relationships between BMCP and other cultural organizations on campus have and continue to grow closer.

“Whatever personal issues we have with one another are left at the door when we are handling business— we all are seeking the same type of vibes,” she says. “Since everyone is trying to have a good and successful semester, we’re all on the same page right now.”

Catch BMCP at the Big Ole Homecoming Party this Friday in collaboration with the Black Student Union Poetry Jam event!

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