University of Mississippi gospel choir embraces diversity

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015

By Austin Ivy

There are many organizations on the University of Mississippi campus that were created to promote diversity.

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They include the Black Student Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the newly formed Do You Girls and the University of Mississippi Fashion Society, to name a few.

The University of Mississippi Gospel Choir, created more than 40 years ago, has been an inspiration for junior music major Zsa’Xhani Davis.

Beginning as the Black Student Union Choir, the choir has provided inspiration and support for black students.

“From being a member, to serving as the current director, I have witnessed a great deal of diversity in the gospel choir,” said Davis. “I do believe it is a positive representation of Ole Miss as a whole.”

Davis was voted director of the choir for 2015-2016. According to members of the organization, she encourages diversity in the organization and on campus.

“Xhani, who serves as the choir director, does a great job with her dynamic leadership, where she adequately provides a welcoming environment to all ethnicities,” said choir business manager Niyoko Brock.

Choir adviser Norris Edney said all students benefit from exposure to people, beliefs and ideas that are different than what they’re used to.

“As one of the largest predominantly African-American organizations on campus, the gospel choir represents an opportunity for students to interact across racial and social boundaries,” he said. “The message of the choir is universal.”

Seneca Crump, a junior political science major, is the current president of the choir.

“I feel that the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir is an open student organization to all races and ethnic groups to give them a place to worship how they want to worship,” Crump said. “Our director promotes diversity because she leads by faith and not by sight.”

The previously mentioned organizations all work to promote an equal environment on campus.

“As we continue to grow as a university, I believe we will also continue to encourage diversity in years to come,” said Davis.