The African and Caribbean Students Association (ACSA) brought the heat for their first in-person Culture Show since the pandemic on April 2. Hosted banquet style in Grant Hall, ACSA brought together cultures from the greater Queen’s community for a night of performance, art, community, and great food.
Prior to the performance, The Journal chatted with ACSA Co-President Abigail Yee Ken, ArtSci ’23, as well as Culture Show Coordinators Kiara Prashad, ArtSci ’24, and Preston Harrison, ArtSci ’24, to gain insight into their creative and logistic processes.
“The last few years have really limited what we’ve been able to do; we haven’t been able build the community as strongly as we wanted to,” Yee Ken said, reflecting on pandemic operations.
“We all agreed that we wanted this one to be a big, very warm, very community and culture-oriented event where you step in and say ‘Ah, this is so nice.’”
This was surely the response received by audience members at Sunday night’s show.
With decorations ornamenting Grant Hall to follow the show’s theme “Flora and Fauna” and a group of individuals excited to observe the culture of their peers, the event was immensely welcoming to everyone in attendance.
“We wanted to promote the idea of bringing an aspect of biodiversity you’re inspired by to life,” Prashad said. “The colour palette of the show took inspiration from that which you see in the rainforest and the performances took inspiration from the natural world around them.”
“Because COVID spread us all apart, being back in person has been slowly building up people to reconnect with others again—we wanted to focus heavily on that,” Harrison added.
Initially, ACSA had trouble finding performers, but received an influx of interest in their show hosting Cubana night at Ale House. The show itself had eight performances, and while most were dances, there was also an original song and a presentation about art and leaving a legacy.
Opening for the ACSA dance team was a Caribana dancer decorated in pink feathers and jewels that made the audience go crazy. Thereafter, a group of student dancers performed a high-energy dance that earned a wild applause.
“Chocolate Coffee” debuted at the Culture Show, an original song by Danielle Hope Edwards that sought to reclaim common descriptors for Black people as ones of beauty rather than condescension.
The eloquent lyrics explored her experience of navigating her identity in a society that “doesn’t want to take a sip, just wants to see her drip.” Dani’s powerful vocals filled Grant Hall and left the audience in awe after the moving performance.
The Queen’s Indian Student Association Dance Team took the stage with a group of performers in matching flowing outfits, the choreography incorporating a variety of paces and styles of traditional Indian dance. The two-part dance featured a large group of four dancers for the second, a mashup tribute to the vibrant dance culture of South Asia.
To speak on legacy, documentation, and art, King-David Olajuwon was welcomed on stage. He’s a second-year photographer at Queen’s who documents the legacy of Black people and people of colour in our community. His heartfelt presentation left audience members reflecting on how they can put their potential into creation.
The closing dance of the vibrant event left the audience members wanting more. ACSA took the stage back for a final performance with a fun-loving high energy performance with each dancer holding the flags of their heritage countries.
The wholesome night left viewers buzzing with excitement and feeling proud for the beautiful cultures existing within the Queen’s community, ones which often don’t receive nearly as much visibility as they deserve.
When asked what the executive team wants students to take away from this show, they told The Journal that while this event is a space for people of colour to celebrate their cultures, all are welcome to come celebrate with them.
“There’s been times when [people of colour] have been ostracized on campus, [so] this has been a nice way to celebrate cultural communities that don’t normally get big support from Queen’s where students can dress up, feel confident, and spend time with their friends,” Harrison said.
ACSA, Art, Culture, Grant Hall
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