Mackenzie Sullivan
April 9, 2024

Celebrating African Culture: Africa Night at Denison University

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In a dazzling display of diversity and unity, Denison University recently hosted its highly anticipated annual Africa Night, a celebration of African and Caribbean culture that left attendees in awe. The event was put on in collaboration by Denison’s African and Caribbean Student Association and Denison’s Black Student Union. The event, which took place in the heart of culture and music on campus, the Michael D. Eisner Center for Performing Arts, and showcased the rich tapestry of traditions, music, fashion, and cuisine that span the continent.

The evening kicked off with a spectacular fashion show that transported the audience on a sartorial journey across Africa. Models strutted down the runway adorned in vibrant Ankara prints, elegant dashikis, and intricately woven kente cloth, each ensemble telling a story of heritage and craftsmanship. There were three African designers represented, and while all the clothes were stunning, we are partial to our beautiful clothes from Obioma Fashion. The models absolutely killed the looks and we loved being able to see our clothes in motion on the runway. From the bold patterns of West Africa to the flowing silhouettes of East Africa, the diversity of African fashion was on full display, captivating the audience with its beauty and creativity.

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But Africa Night was more than just a fashion show; it was a celebration of African identity in all its forms. Throughout the evening, attendees were treated to mesmerizing dance performances that brought to life the rhythms and movements of various African cultures. From the energetic beats of Afrobeat to the graceful steps of traditional dances, the stage pulsated with energy and passion, showcasing the talent and dedication of the performers. The performances included everything from solo to duo to group performances, with some of the school’s most popular dance groups like Afro Spice who performed songs like “Water” by Tyla and several other fan favorites.

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Poets also took to the stage, their words weaving a lyrical tapestry that spoke of love, loss, resilience, and hope. Through spoken word, they shared personal stories and reflections, inviting the audience to delve deeper into the complexities of the African experience. Their words resonated with authenticity and emotion, touching hearts and minds alike, and garnered a large round of applause.

But Africa Night wasn't just about entertainment; it was also about giving back to the community. Throughout the evening, fundraisers were held to support various charitable initiatives across the continent. From providing clean water to remote villages to funding education programs for underprivileged children, the Denison community came together to make a tangible difference in the lives of others. Guest speakers came on the stage to tell a short history of Tigray, Ethiopia and how dire their public health and food insecurity situation is, encouraging people to donate what they could to the cause.

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And of course, no celebration would be complete without a little competition. Since guests were told to dress to impress, they went all out! Our lovely host invited three of the best dressed guys and three of the best dressed girls up to the stage for some friendly competition, and guests had to cheer for who they thought had the best outfit. Let’s just say, we might have some inspiration for some new looks….

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But perhaps the most striking aspect of Africa Night was the sense of unity and solidarity that permeated the event. People from all walks of life came together to celebrate and honor African culture, bridging divides and fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion. In a world often marked by division and discord, Africa Night served as a powerful reminder of the beauty and strength that can be found in diversity.

As the night came to a close, attendees left with hearts full and spirits lifted, carrying with them memories of an evening filled with laughter, joy, and celebration. Africa Night at Denison University was more than just an event; it was a testament to the power of culture to bring people together and inspire positive change in the world. The night wrapped itself up with a fun afterparty called Club Afrique, and everyone had a great time dancing the night away and showing appreciation for their beautiful culture!