Taste of South featured at ‘Soul Food Night’

Caitlin Saniga

Mary Seats, sophomore fashion design major who also goes by “MZ. Skittlez,” raps yesterday at “Soul Food Night” at Eastway Center. The event featured food, karaoke and the chance to learn the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Gavin Jackson | The Da

Credit: Ron Soltys

“Soul Food Night” served up a generous helping of southern comfort and cuisine, as crowds of students came to eat and be entertained yesterday at Eastway Cafe.

The event, which Dining Services puts on every semester, featured a southern-style menu, karaoke sponsored by KSC Programming and a performance by Kent State’s gospel choir Voices of Testimony.

“I came for the ribs,” said Vanecia Kirkland, a freshman fashion design and merchandising major who sang karaoke to Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious.”

Soul Food gave Eastway’s menu a makeover that featured fried chicken, barbecue ribs, baked beans, cornbread, yams and sweet potato pie.

“The chicken’s going fast,” said Andrew Carr, freshman secondary education major and Eastway employee, as he scooped yams into a dish. “The baked beans aren’t as popular.”

At one point, the line for fried chicken was more than a dozen people long.

“We’re normally dead right now,” said Danielle Eckert, senior architecture major and Eastway employee. “But it’s 5 o’clock, and we already opened up the extra dining room.”

Several students tried karaoke, and their music selections ranged from R&B classics to country, rap and even the song “La Bamba.”

After karaoke, students packed into the dining area to listen to Voices of Testimony sing a cappella.

The group of about 12 didn’t need microphones to be heard, and they clapped to keep time. They sang “Our God is an Awesome God,” and when they finished, the room filled with booming applause and shouts of “Hallelujah!”

Rochelle McCrayer, senior education major and Voices of Testimony member, said she’s been a member of the choir for nearly eight years, and she’s sung at Soul Food before.

She said her favorite part of the event was “just being able to have fellowship with other students on campus and getting to see other black students I don’t always get to see.”

All the tables in the dining area had paper “table tents,” tri-fold papers highlighting notable black professors and staff from Kent State and information about groups such as the Kent African Student Association and the Student Multicultural Center.

“My goal is to educate,” said Autumn Piller, marketing manager for Dining Services and designer of the table tents. “I want students to know about the great organizations and staff at Kent.”

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Caitlin Saniga [email protected].