Showcasing African culture through comedy, traditional dance, fashion and music, the African Student Association held its 19th annual culture show, a show full of performances aiming to celebrate one's personal identity.
A few hundred audience members watched the show Saturday evening, held at the Crisler Center and hosted by Nigerian stand-up comedian Foxy P.
Spoken-word artist Kai Mason, an LSA sophomore, began the event with a performance on her personal experiences with identity and culture.
One of the models in the show, LSA freshman Dania Harris, said the show emphasized culture over appearance, and celebrated the diversity of African culture.
“I think ASA is the representation of culture instead of appropriation of culture,” she said. “(It is) real people who are actually African showing off their culture and their traditions that are usually misrepresented in the media.”
ASA President Tochukwu Ndukwe, a Kinesiology senior, originally joined the group because of his older brother’s positive experience with it. Ndukwe appreciates that ASA encourages people to embrace their African heritage.
“I feel like, because of what’s going on in the world, it’s easy to assimilate and not embrace who you are, and not really want to show people your culture,” Ndukwe said. “We’re really trying to showcase the beauty of the roots, the rhythm of the African culture.”
The show title, “Shaka: Our Africa,” was inspired by African warrior-king Shaka Zulu, who united communities in Africa to form the Zulu kingdom. LSA senior Seun Oladipo, the ASA community relations chair, said the organization hoped the show would embody the same power of the African leader.
Oladipo also works on philanthropy and networking with African groups, noting how important the show is in presenting the club to the community.
“It has helped me to reclaim my culture and gain pride in it,” she said. “ASA means family. We care about each other, and that’s what makes it so rewarding.”
One of the show’s performers, Hilena, a half-Eritrean, half-Ethiopian soul singer taught the audience some of the lyrics before beginning her song. She performed a Tanzanian song that incorporated elements of Tizita, which is an Amharic term for longing or nostalgia.
One segment featured the Sun Drummers, a previous opening act for famous performers such as Stevie Wonder and John Legend. The group comprises stilt walkers, African drummers and West African dancers. Sowande Keita, a member of the Sun Drummers, said he hoped the act energized the crowd.
“We get a chance to spread the sound of the Djembe,” Keita said, referring to the group’s drums. “We have a really upbeat, feel-good routine.”
Nine-year-old Damola Ojo came from Lima, Ohio, to support his sister, Ayotomiwa Ojo, ASA vice president. He was dressed in a Dashiki, a colorful garment worn by men in West Africa.
When asked what his favorite part of the show was, Ojo said, “The drumming.”