Kwanzaa Fest Celebrates African Culture

By Huonna McCarthy and Ashley Ferguson ‘16

Traditional African dancing, poetry reading, music and role playing brought spectators to their feet at the Kwanzaa Festival, which was held in the auditorium on Wednesday, December 17.

“From the dancing to the inspirational speeches, Kwanzaa fest was really amazing,” said Maya Mendonca ‘16 “ It really gave me that ‘Oh my gosh’ expression.”

Kwanzaa is an African- American holiday that celebrates African culture.The 26th annual Kwanzaa Festival is presented by the  Black Heritage Alliance (BHA) as a way for students to showcase traditional African heritage while creating a bond with each other.

Pressed for time,  participants in the show were able to band together and work hard, to have everything ready in time for opening night, said Erica Antoine ‘15, one of  BHA’s presidents.

This year’s festival kicked off with the singing of the national anthem by Shannon Alexander ‘16 and the African- American national anthem by Celine Agard ‘16.  After, Lynzie Kelso ‘16, took the stage to perform one of many heart stopping poems of the night. A play then followed that managed to incorporate the seven principles of Kwanzaa,  (unity, self-determination, responsibility, economy, purpose, creativity and faith) into its storyline. Throughout the play, a candle was lit  in representation of these principles.

“This is my first time ever acting and although it was stressful learning all my lines, I couldn’t be happier with tonight’s performance” said Daniel  Edwards’ 16 who played the King.

As the dancers stepped out in their brightly colored clothing, the audience struggled to contain their excitement. They performed two energetic African dances and each step delivered a message. Paule Oue ‘16, one of the dancers, said that many hours were spent, going over the routine, until every step was taken with confidence and precision.

Edwards ‘16 and Jada Ricketts ‘16 opened the fashion show segment of the program. The audience looked on with awe as traditional African attire was presented model after model while upbeat African rhythms and dimmed lights set the perfect stage for the beautiful garments.

“I was yelling at everybody, but only because I wanted them to be the best they can be,” said the modelling director, Rebecca Ambartsumov ‘15. “ We all stepped on stage and looked amazing and I’m so proud of each and every single one of us.”

The beat of the Blue Angels’ drumline might still be echoing throughout the auditorium. Their outstanding performance captivated spectators and brought on a sudden urge to tap your feet with the beat.

Last, but not least, the Lady Phoenix put on a jaw dropping performance. Not only did they  bring the energy, the smiles and the fun, they brought the attitude that every stepper needs. They closed the show with a bang and left the audience in utter amazement.

“ I loved the show,” said Alyson St. Omer ‘16. “ Especially the step team, they really killed it !”

The audience seemed to be pleasantly entertained and classified it a success. Janelle White ‘16 said that the show portrayed the true meaning of Kwanzaa in both an educational  and fun way. In agreement, Johnathan Edwards ‘16 praised the dancing and the acting.

“I really thought the show was great. It was outstanding,” said Johnathan Edwards ‘16 “The dancing and acting were no doubt my favorite parts.”

Although the audience had mostly positive reviews, members of the BHA and returning alumni, who gave a helping hand, believed certain areas could have been improved. Nevertheless, the presidents of BHA, Feyisola Soetan ‘15 and Erica Antoine ‘15, both expressed how proud and grateful they are of everyone involved in making this production successful.

After the conclusion of the show in the auditorium, the events continued in the cafeteria where everyone was welcomed to partake in a variety of dishes.

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