A Woman Inspired presents first event, “Remembering Renaissance"

Tributes were paid to women such as Billie Holiday and Whitney Houston

Supporters of women’s rights came together Tuesday for “Remembering Renaissance," presented by A Woman Inspired and held in The Shack in the MU Student Center.

The event comprised of five performances, including a tribute to Billie Holiday by senior Erica Terry.

Terry said the era should be taken into account for many students because many of the achievements that occurred then paved the way for the opportunities black students have today.

“It’s good that this event highlights the Renaissance because it is an era that is often ignored, not taken in account of its historical relevance and is an era that people should be educated about,” she said. “Hopefully this event will let the Renaissance stay in memories with our origins, even in a progressive society like ours.”

Along with the homages to the Renaissance, the event was also a tribute to the recent death of Whitney Houston. Junior Symonne Sparks, who sang a medley of Houston’s songs such as “I Will Always Love You” and “I Believe in You and Me,” gave the final performance of the night.

Sparks said Houston represented A Woman Inspired’s message because every action she took was respected, and she stayed an inspiration to many women. This allows both her and the other women who paved the way for her to be remembered.

“Whitney was never disrespected because not only was there such a level of respect for her but she stayed strong throughout whatever issues she had," Sparks said. "When you give so much to people like she did, you will leave a positive legacy behind.”

Houston exemplified what the organization strives to achieve and will continue to help other women achieve success Jade Earle, A Woman Inspired social chairwoman and former Maneater staff member, said.

“Whitney Houston influenced women of all backgrounds because of her amazing gift and talent and had an additional influence on everyone’s ear because we all knew who she was and what she meant for us all,” she said.

This was the first event for A Woman Inspired, an all-female organization formed to celebrate the achievements of great women and the inspiration they give to others.

When speaking of the songs she sang to honor Holiday, Terry said Holiday's courage is something that touched her, given the period of time in which the song was written.

“'Strange Fruit,' in particular, was a controversial piece because of the blunt manner that Billie was describing the wrongs that were occurring in the South but was courageous on her part because she chose to sing the song in the 1930s,” she said.

Earle said plans beyond the Renaissance event will focus on mentoring more young girls in order to help and inspire them to continue the cycle of good will.

“The group wants to help young girls in community in order to reach out to them, even if it may be too difficult to reach out sometimes," Earle said. "We also plan to volunteer and mentor so the youth have access to that as well."

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