The State – 01/18/23

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting cloudy with rain showers in the evening with a high of 39 degrees and a low of 34 degrees.

MLK Commemorative March sparks conversations on history and inclusion

The words of Martin Luther King Jr. carried through Beaumont Tower with the chanting of “How Long? Not long,” the speech that King gave after the Selma march to tell Black people all throughout America that they would not suffer much longer in their fight for civil rights.

Professor Robert L. Green, former dean of the College of Urban Development at Michigan State University and friend of the late King said that all those years ago when he made his famous “I Have A Dream” speech that King was cashing a blank check from the government that their community had never been able to redeem. He continued to say that while the students and faculty are still marching to demonstrate “their shameful condition,” they are also there to celebrate King’s dream coming to fruition.

Interim President Teresa Woodruff attended the march and told the crowd her own story of looking up at the tower every morning and being transported back 168 years ago to the founding of the university. When she looks at Beaumont, Woodruff said remembers what she thinks is the university’s founding purpose: to open the door of education to the broadest and most diverse group of students across Michigan.

Broadcast journalism senior Angela Solomon, who is serving as Miss Black in the MSU Alphas pageant, spoke to the importance of the march as a way for marginalized students to call attention to King and his vision, but also to the addition of MSU’s multicultural center.

Interdisciplinary humanities and educational studies senior Clayton Griffith said that MLK Day would ideally be a day of remembrance to not only King, but the history of the work of him and many others in the Civil Rights movement.

Griffith said that this work has led to the modern ideology of Black students as “living with purpose, promise, and perseverance” as well as being conscious of the intentionality that continuing his legacy gives to the black community of MSU.

Drag queens on the importance of sharing their art with East Lansing

Rodger Giessman was presented with a challenge: help execute a drag show in just 10 days.

He then called drag queen Caj Monet and asked her to perform at what would soon be The Diva’s Ball. Monet said she would’ve come even if she had been asked three days before.

The Diva’s Ball was held at the Hannah Community center on January 13, 2023.

The coordinators of The Diva’s Ball wanted to bring drag shows back to East Lansing and knew Giessman would be able to find the right entertainers for the show.

“I said, ‘Absolutely. We can definitely put a show together, it’s going to be a lot of work, but let’s do it,'” Giessman said.

Giessman, also known as DJ LipGloss, has been working with drag queens for nearly 20 years. He started his career as a nightclub DJ, then became a promoter and show director. He now travels the country helping queens get ready for national pageants.

Drag queens performing at The Diva’s Ball attested that the show was made possible because of the support Giessman has given to queens throughout the years.

Sapphire Shade, who also performed in the show, said she was happy to be able to be back performing in Lansing after not having as many opportunities to do so since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giessman will be working with Float Nation Live to help bring more events like The Diva’s Ball to Lansing. He is hoping to turn it into a monthly event where people can gather and enjoy the art of drag. While Giessman recognizes that there has always been drag events in the Lansing community, he wants to bring awareness to more people.

Kimchi Box: East Lansing’s first fast Casual Korean restaurant

Min Gyu Kim, a Michigan State University alumnus, noticed the absence of Asian food and took it upon himself to create his own fast, casual Korean restaurant: Kimchi Box. After opening six successful locations, Kim decided to go back to his MSU roots and open another on East Lansing’s Grand River.

After graduating in 2017 with a degree in Supply Chain Management, Kim took up consulting in Chicago, which he said gave him more insight into the world of business. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kim quit his job and moved back to Michigan with the idea to begin his own business venture.

While other restaurants and businesses in East Lansing were closing, Kim saw an opportunity to take over one of the absent leases with Korean fast and casual on his mind.

For much of his life, Kim grew up working in restaurants beside his mother, who he deems a very good cook. When deciding to open his own restaurant, he collaborated with his mom and aunts, utilizing their knowledge of traditional Korean cuisine and taking a fast, casual spin on it.

Kimchi Box’s Korean fusion creates a more accessible menu for its mainstream audience, offering chicken sandwiches, tacos, bento bowls and more.

Kimchi Box manager Marino Allen described their fan favorite popcorn chicken saying half is coated in their Queen Sassy sauce, a version of sweet and spicy sauce, while the other half is coated in soy garlic sauce. Topped with green onions and sesame, Allen says the chicken is the perfect dish to go with a side of their Kimchi fries.

Once settled in East Lansing, Kim hopes to expand even further.

“I would like to do Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids. Maybe out of the state,” Kim said when expanding on his ambitions.

Based on original reporting by Liz Nass, Hannah Woehrle and Anna Ryan.