When a group of friends at Binghamton University bonded together over a love of singing and R&B music more than a year ago, they were unable to find a group on campus to cultivate their interests. These students decided to join together and create Undivided, a new organization here on campus, to share their passion for music among a diverse community of students.

Founded in October 2022, the goal of Undivided is to create a “safe space” for students of all backgrounds to share their love of “musicality” with one another. Nyma Sesay-Joseph, the president and music director of Undivided and a senior majoring in psychology, believed that creating a collective space available for students of color to express their musical craft and ability was sorely needed on campus. Kofi Waldron, vice president of Undivided and a senior majoring in economics, identified the same need.

“Undivided was founded in October 2022 when me and six other musically passionate individuals came together and realized that the campus community was exempt from a true multicultural musical space where we could enjoy the art of music, specifically R&B, while honing our vocal skills,” Waldron wrote in an email. “We were all previously on Gospel Choir where we all made authentic connections and friendships that lasted way after its unfortunate end. So in turn with that musical space being gone, it was time for a change. So we slowly started the steps to create this musical organization and hit the ground running by accumulating dedicated performing members that still grace our group to this day.”

Undivided began hosting tryouts for singers of all different musical ranges in February 2023, with no prior experience being necessary. The club has since grown by attracting a diverse group of choir members and has started to host several performances and other events with its general body.

“Our goal is to provide a safe space for students of color to express themselves musically and grow their musicality among a community of diverse individuals,” Sesay-Joseph wrote in an email. “Undivided’s Motto is ‘Diversity in Musicality.’ We aim to cultivate a nurturing environment where musicians of all backgrounds can refine their craft.”

Waldron elaborated upon Undivided’s mission, explaining that the organization will continue to evolve as times change.

“Our mission for Undivided has always been rooted in letting the diverse Binghamton campus community shape us into what the organization is meant to be and stand for,” Waldron wrote. “With multicultural influence, Undivided will never just be one straightforward thing. It will evolve through the years as the people’s music group.”

While Undivided has not yet had a chance to host a major event open for attendance by students across campus, its members have collaborated and performed at other student-led collaborations and functions. The group made its debut performance in March of last year at Apollo Night, a musical talent show hosted annually by the Charles Drew Minority Pre-Health Society, singing “Candy Rain,” a song released by R&B group Soul for Real in 1994. A month later, several members of Undivided were able to “showcase [their] love for R&B” during the two-day opening of Black Museum, an art gallery held in Downtown Binghamton to celebrate the work done by Black student artists. Several members of Undivided contributed in various ways to the art exhibition, with one choir member conducting a solo performance to open the night.

Undivided has continued to collaborate with other multicultural organizations, like hosting an “Aux Cord Wars” competition last September with the BU Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the coalition body for the “nine historically African American Greek-letter fraternities and sororities” across the country. Members from both clubs battled over whose music playlist was better and who could guess the correct lyrics to a mystery song. The organization has continued to actively perform and plan new events during this current semester as well.

“[We] have had many general body events and performances,” Sesay-Joseph wrote. “Just this past February [2024], we held our first ‘Week of Love,’ where we held a week of programming and performances highlighting and exploring the true meaning of Love. We also just had an amazing opportunity to perform at the BU Men’s Basketball in honor of Black History Month. In the near future, we will be hosting our first-ever Spring Showcase, highlighting all the voices in Undivided.”

In addition to performing, Undivided continues to promote R&B music and artists on its Instagram page. At the beginning of the 2023-2024 year, Undivided announced its “Trail We Blaze” campaign. Each month, the club features an Instagram profile of an important artist that has greatly contributed to the R&B genre. Jahi Ferguson, a senior advisor and one of the directors of Undivided and a senior majoring in biology, explained how this campaign relates to Undivided’s story.

“It is difficult to name a specific individual who resonates with what Undivided is in its entirety, however every highlighted person has made strides as the first in some capacity, which is a reflection of Undivided, the first multicultural R&B singing group on campus,” Ferguson wrote.

Ceian Thomas, public relations for Undivided and a senior majoring in graphic design, shared how Undivided resonates with him personally.

“Undivided is a musical escape that allows me to unwind through songs and melodies,” Thomas wrote. “R&B touches on topics and themes of love that anyone of any race can get behind and understand. Everyone has a story, and everyone expresses it with their voices and rhythm.”

Acknowledging the importance of multicultural diversity in music and talent, Undivided occupies a unique space on the BU campus for singers wishing to express themselves in a welcoming environment. Information on future performances and influential figures in R&B music history can be found @undivided.bing on Instagram.