Hip-Hop Artist Shaun Boothe Gives Inspiring Performance at Mercy’s Black Excellence Dinner

President Susan Parish, Alena Kush, Shaun Boothe

President Susan Parish, Director of Campus Life Alena Kush and hip-hop artist Shaun Boothe

Throughout February, Mercy University joins the nation in commemorating Black History Month - a time for reflection and remembrance, recognizing the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices made by Black individuals in shaping our nation's story.

With events across all three campuses, Mercy is celebrating diversity and giving everyone the opportunity to learn about people who had a powerful impact on the history of our country – and the world.

To kick off the celebration, on Thursday, February 8, Mercy’s Office of Campus Life hosted the Black Excellence Dinner, held in the rotunda at the Westchester Campus. The event honored the struggles and achievements of legendary Black Americans and featured a performance by award-winning hip-hop artist Shaun Boothe.

Mercy University’s President, Dr. Susan L. Parish, began the night by speaking about the importance of celebrating Black History Month. “This history is so rich it can ignite the fire of inspiration in all of us,” Parish said. “And I am incredibly proud that Mercy is leading the charge to create more equitable access to college and expanding programs and policies to serve our black students and facilitate their success.”

Members of the Mercy family, including students, alumni, faculty, staff and board members, were treated to a dynamic performance and presentation by Boothe. He performed several songs from his Unauthorized Biography Series, which celebrates the world’s most influential icons through biographical hip hop songs. Between songs, Boothe shared the stories that inspired him when he was researching the biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammed Ali, Bob Marley, Barack Obama and Serena Williams.

“So, to me, Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’ not because of the fighting you saw him do in the ring, it’s who he stood for and who he was willing to fight for out of that ring, that’s what made him ‘The Greatest,’” Boothe said. “He cared about people on the other side of his dinner table the same way he cared about people on the other side of the planet.”

After the program, attendees were treated to soul food catered by Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, and had a chance to reflect on the night.

“I enjoyed the program,” said Ayomide Adeyekun, ’25. “I think the Serena biography was my favorite part, maybe because I’m a Black female.”

Ruth Costume ’26 agreed, “Serena has my heart,” she said. “She’s my inspiration.”

Guests left feeling inspired and uplifted. “I liked everything,” said Princess Duah ’27. “I liked to see all the different cultures and how he (Boothe) brought it all back to one.”