By: Desaye Kenton
The President of York College’s African Students Association and his board members all dressed in white attire. They stood on stage for one last time to show appreciation for their team’s hard work and the audience’s support.
On Thursday, May 5th York College’s African Students Association collaborated with York College’s SEEK Students Society to put together a show incorporating fashion, dance, spoken word and rapping performances they called Afrique Unique. It was held in York College’s Performing Arts Center free of admission.
The collaboration for the show was presented when SEEK’s President David Olu-Talabi, and the Entrepreneurship club attended one of ASA’s general meetings and asked them to collaborate. Unfortunately, the Entrepreneurship club couldn’t continue with the show so ASA moved forward working with SEEK.
David Olu-Talabi, a sophomore majoring in Occupational Therapy, says he thought it would be a good idea to collaborate since both clubs had successful fashion shows last year.
“I wanted to collaborate with ASA because from my personal opinion our clubs are the most popular ones at York College. SEEK is known for doing fashion shows and since it was my first year being president I wanted to help ASA. We wanted to make York’s 50th anniversary memorable,” He said.
ASA wasn’t active as a club Fall semester of 2014. It wasn’t until Oluwaseun Ewola, a sophomore leading towards being a Psychology major, became president spring 2015 semester. Ewola says one of the reasons he attended York College besides academics included the great things he heard about York’s clubs including ASA.
“I was driven to get ASA started back up again and continue on the ASA legacy. I truly have to thank the president before me, Bineta Diop. She really helped me with that transition and gave me guidelines on what to expect and how to handle it,” Ewola said.
Upon choosing the name for the show, ASA wanted a title that caught people’s attention and drew interest and curiosity to check out the show. Ewola says they wanted something that was easy to say and could be used for years to come.
“After all the brainstorming, we finally came up with ‘Afrique Unique’. It represents the uniqueness of Africa. You can literally find a taste of Africa in every aspect of beings and that’s one of the reasons why Africa is unique,” he said.
ASA spent three months working on the show. Their club meetings and rehearsals for the show were every Tuesday and Thursday in room 3C06 of York College’s Academic Core building. They practiced throughout spring break and on some days extended practices from 12pm to 10pm.
Vice President Kimberly Louis-Charles, extended Eboard member and dance coordinator Natalie Louis-Charles, and Treasurer Kadija Barry were all a part of choreographing the dances for the show. Yetunde Ojo an extended Eboard member and stage manager was in charged making sure the show ran smoothly and that each performer and performance were on cue. These ladies are all seniors and had a bittersweet experience being a part of what might have been their last show with ASA.
Kimberly Louis-Charles, pre-med, sociology major says the process and hard work of this last show has been bittersweet.
“I had such an amazing time being Vice President, being a part of the behind of the scenes, and organisational aspects of things,” she said. “Also just being a member and most of all we’ve become a family so I’m going to miss everybody and take the experiences with me in my future endeavors,”
ASA put together seven dances including an African traditional opening dance, a few African dances by the all female dancers, two romantic dances where club members are paired as couples, a step and dance routine featuring African and hip-hop styles from ‘Dem ASA Boyz’ and a finale dance.
The featured fashion designs were Omooba Fashions by Osayame Uzamere, P96 by Peter Johnson, Bow Steez a crochet line by Gabrielle Sutherland, House of Merlot by Jeffery Ampratwum and GoldFinger by Jerry Francios. SEEK provided the models and some of the ladies from ASA modeled the designs as well.
Afrique Unique also featured other acts including spoken word by Penda Zenisha Smith, hip-hop artist Josiah Skeete who goes by “Skeeter St. Clair”, and reggae artist Sylum along with R&B singer Othello. Afrique Unique was hosted by Young Prince and Og Tega.
Malcolm Holmes, Communications Technology major who attended the show says he enjoyed the show and how it kept him entertainedEwola.
“I like the fact the hosts kept the audience involved. I participated in the milly rock contest representing my borough. From the dancers to the models everything was phenomenal,” he said.
Cara-kay Campbell, business finance major who also attended the show says Afrique Unique was enjoyable.
“The hosts were funny, they kept the crowd entertained and involved while the performers were getting ready. I believe the dancer did their best I liked all the dances and some of the clothes that the models wore were tasteful. She said.
After a successful show with a huge turnout, President Oluwaseun Ewola says he felt the club’s hard work paid off although there is always room for improvement.
“The future for ASA is very bright! A lot of people have been asking me am I going to be President next year. I guess they’ll have to come and find out themselves,”