Harambee 2014: Black Excellence

On Sunday, March 2, African American Student Association (AASA) put on a spectacle of dance, song, and rhythm in the annual Harambee performance. Afterwards, food was served for the many family members, students, and staff who came out to watch the show.

The night started off with music, as Mod 21 sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often called “The Black National Anthem.” Yasmine Gordon followed with “Amazing Grace” before Mama She She performed. “Mama She She is Chinyere’s mother who has a group called the Drum Divas, which is a group of African Drummers,” says Alexis Currie, AASA Vice President. The group got the audience involved, encouraging spectators to chant lines and later bringing people on stage to learn a dance.

As Harambee rolled on, a skit began, taking place in a class of students learning about African-American history. The skit offered natural segues into different dances, all tied to African-American culture.

Art was not the only thing showcased, however, as African-American history played a prominent part. Part of the skit showed the discrimination blacks faced in the South when Al-Jalil Gault, playing a customer, was refused by a waiter, played by Joey Longo. In addition, Jose Muratalla portrayed Malcolm X while George Harris stepped in as Martin Luther King, Jr. “I was honored to have the opportunity to portray MLK Jr.,” says George, AASA’s historian. “I feel like Jose did an excellent job of capturing Malcolm X’s revolutionary nature as well.”

The event was the culmination of much hard work and preparation. “Harambee went beyond my expectations this year,” says Alexis. “I never doubt my board or Harambee’s participants, but we ran into many bumps along the way.” She added, “I also am so grateful that Mod 21 and SDAC came and played as major contributions to Harambee with their excellent performances.”

“Harambee in Swahili literally means ‘all put together,’” says Amber Acquaye, a sophomore representative. “We all came together and made something great. I think that’s what Harambee is all about.”

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