KASA attempts to bring African culture to Kent State

Aaron Kinney

African Night includes cultural dance, food, music and speakers

The Kent African Student Association will bring a little bit of Africa to the Student Center ballroom tonight at 7:30 p.m.

African Night is the KASA’s biggest event of the year. Combining entertainment with cultural education, the affair’s primary purpose is to educate students on Africa through food, dance, fashion and entertainment.

The theme of this year’s event is “Never Forget….,” said Tristian Holmes, junior business management major and president of KASA.

“We never want to forget the beauty that comes from Africa,” said Ayobami Crawford, junior educational interpreting for the deaf major and KASA’s publicity chair.

Besides the usual fashion show and African foods, African Night will feature the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, a prominent dance group from Philadelphia. A student group will also open the show with a dance routine.

“Every year we bring in a wide range of performers and speakers that we feel can speak to the purpose of the event,” said Taiwo Adesina, junior psychology and pre-medicine major and KASA’s vice president, in an e-mail interview.

The speaker this year is George Fraser, chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc., a networking site for black professionals. Fraser will speak about the impact of Africans on their communities.

Crawford said KASA likes to have its speakers talk about important issues not many know about.

KASA is also recognizing African businesses in Northeast Ohio. Crawford called this a way to show their impact and bring more awareness and support to them.

Holmes said KASA will also honor black faculty members, among them Alfreda Brown, the vice president for diversity on campus.

“Overall, with our food, with the fashion, with socialization, with unity that we have in our event, it definitely shows how beautiful the culture and… the African continent can be,” Crawford said.

Holmes said one of the most important parts of African Night is that it brings something different to Kent State every year.

“It’s kind of a change of pace from the concerts and those type of events that the university usually does,” Holmes said. “You’ll get to come and learn about different cultures.”

Adesina encouraged all students to come to the event. She said the event is not just for African students and is “an opportunity to get a little taste of what Africa is like and hopefully eliminate some stereotypes in the process.”

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Aaron Kinney at [email protected].