Multicultural Club hosts African American culture night

The Multicultural club hosted the second annual African American Culture Night on February 22, 2018. It was an evening full of sharing, learning, and fun as students, parents, and teachers experienced black culture.

Senior Mabel Okpara, vice president of Multicultural Club, hopes that awareness of black culture can help people become more understanding of one another.

“[Multicultural Club] hopes to spread more awareness on African American culture. By doing this event we can make the culture more welcoming,” Okpara said.

The night consisted of step dancing, famous poetry performed by students, historical facts, and music. This showcased the Greek fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, from the historically black college and university, North Carolina Central University. Tau drummers left the audience in awe as their rhythmic beats filled the room. Throughout the night the President, Patience Jones, and Vice President, Mabel Okpara, of Multicultural Club gave their reasons why these art forms are important to African American culture.

Black history month is a month that we can extra celebrate our culture. We can celebrate our ancestors and what they mean to us”

— Jones

,” Jones said.

The night opened up with an excerpt from the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The song was performed by senior Hevyn Todman. Her powerful voice rang in the ears of the audience. The song, written in the era of slavery, provides the listeners a sense of pride in their culture.

A performance by the Sons of Thunders drummers followed the anthem. The Jacksonville based brother duo gave a mini-concert with West African songs such as ‘Funga Alafia’. In the call and response chorus the audience was invited to sing, “funga funga ashe ashe”, which means welcome. The Sons of Thunder group strives to provide positive male role models to the participants in the program while administering a fun environment to teach both children and adults how to drum.

As the lights darkened and a white spotlight dropped down, Anthony Howard and Naya Taylor recited poetry from famous Harlem Renaissance poets Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. Although by different authors, both poems spoke on the inequality faced in the African American culture and shared how they will rise above.

“We have lived a painful history, we know the shameful past, but I keep on marching forward, and you keep on coming last,” Taylor recited.

Neko J. Williams is a theater undergraduate from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro. Williams starred in a self-written one-man play ‘Hues of Life’.  The play depicted a black high school student taking an interest in the Harlem Renaissance and learning about the life of Langston Hughes. Williams ended ‘Hues of Life’ with an inspiring poem labeled ‘Tell Me What Highschool Means’. Williams believes that theatre is important to black culture because it services as a creative outlet.

The night closed on an electric high as the Central University’s Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated’s Gamma Gamma chapter took to the stage. They grabbed the audience attention as they performed their signature step dance routines and incorporated hip-hop modern music. Step dancing has been a creative aspect of black sororities and fraternities since the organizations were founded in the early 1900s.

“One of the reasons that stepping is so prominent and important in fraternities is because it is part of our traditions and culture. It represents who we are,” a Gamma Gamma member said.

The Multicultural Club hopes to put on more events on different cultures year-round, highlighting various cultures all over the globe.

“At the end of the year we are going to host an all around the world night,” Okpara said. “We plan to have different booths set up and talk about different cultures and all the aspects of it.”