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Student excellence; weight-loss challenge

The Baltimore Sun

The social scene began to warm up as spring got into gear. The calendar filled up with events.

Here are just a few that we attended and thought you might want to review:

Coppin State University celebrated student excellence and achievement April 23 to May 19 with 20 events.

We went to one: Nkeiru Okoye, a female African-American composer and conductor, highlighted the opening ceremony which included her folk oratorio, When I Crossed That Line to Freedom: Songs From Harriet Tubman.

Sabrina Coleman Clark, soprano, and the Amistad String Quartet accompanied her.

Okoye, a 34-year-old Baltimore resident, specializes in writing music for multicultural audiences. She combines contemporary classical, African-American, popular and West African musical influences to develop a distinct sound. The oratorio on Tubman, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, is a work in progress.

Dr. Ian Smith, a judge from VH-1's Celebrity Fit Club, put a challenge to Baltimore to lose weight. As part of his national tour, The 50 Million Pound Challenge, Smith used Baltimore's Inner Harbor in April to talk to attendees about dropping a few pounds. It wasn't all serious talk, though.

Entertainers, including Doug E. Fresh and Tanya Blount, sang for the crowd. There also were games, health-information booths and interactive activities.

And last month, Jabari Asim talked about his book, The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't and Why, at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Asim's book-signing and discussion seemed appropriate in light of the recent controversy surrounding the use of the N-word and other profanity by comedians, radio personalities, rappers and others to demean women or those of a certain race.


To see more photos of these events, go to baltimoresun. com/unisun

To listen to a podcast from the 50 Million Pound Challenge, go to

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