Club & Greek

A Tribute to African American Culture

AASU Celebrates Black History Month

It was a night full of African-American pride in Anacon Hall Friday night as the African-American Student Union (AASU) hosted a tribute to African American culture to celebrate Black History Month.

The purpose of the AASU is to unify and support each other and share the cultural achievements of African Americans within the University community.

They represent and advocate the concerns, problems, and image of the African-American students.

The event served to educate people who made a difference in black history with readings, reciting of poems, music, dancing, and singing. The event began at 7:30 pm on Friday, February 24, with light music by a three-person band performing on guitar, keyboard, and drums.

There were round tables set up and decorated with red tablecloths and green and black napkins to represent the colors of the Afro-American flag.    

There were tables with desserts like cupcakes, pie, cobbler, and refreshments for guests to enjoy. The President of the AASU, Tina Onikoyi introduced the audience to what they were about to see and the crowd settled in their seats.

First, the student and a member of the organization, Malcolm McDonald sang acoustically a song titled “His Eye on the Sparrow.” As he sang, pictures of some famous people in black history were shown behind him on the projector like Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey. Then, Nohely D’Oleo gave a reading about novelist and poet, James Baldwin. During each reading, the projector showed a picture of the person behind them throughout the entire reading.

Melina Morel read about Madame Walker, an African American businesswoman and philanthropist. There was a dance performance from the Asbury Park Technical Dance Academy consisting of about 12 young dancers dressed in brown and copper outfits and a few dressed in purple and black. Following the dance was a 15 minute intermission.

During the intermission, some audience members gave their thoughts about the night so far.

“I think it’s great,” said Peggy McPherson, Ocean, NJ resident and four year participating in the Voice of Trinity from Trinity Church Choir in Long Branch, NJ who performed later in the night. “The dancers were outstanding.”

Freshman Brielle Wanamaker from East Orange, NJ said, “It’s really nice. I like the historical information and the performance is really good.”

One of the crowd’s favorities, the Asbury Park Technical Dance Group makes an appearance again dancing to a slower song and wearing outfits that were turquoise and black and some in black and purple.

The next poem that was recited by Natasha Powell titled “Phenomenal Woman,” really grabbed the audience’s attention making them speak out several times throughout the poem.

“I thought the reader delivered the poem inspirationally and the message of the poem resonated with me as far as its feminine views,” said Junior Kristen Malm from Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Several more poems and readings were read about inspirational people such as Charles Drew, Shirley Chisolm, W.E.B. Dubois, and Sojourner Truth.

One of the last performances of the night was from the Voices of Trinity from Trinity Church in Long Branch, NJ. The eight-person choir sang a couple of songs performing with the band, who had not been seen since the beginning of the night. The choir got people in the audience clapping along with them and getting into the music.

“They were full of energy,” said Malm. “You could tell that they loved what they were doing.”  

The night concluded with a final poem, “Dream Deferred” recited by D’Oleo. Everyone was very happy with the events success and to be able to honor Black History Month.

“It’s so nice to have something going on for Black History Month,” said freshman from Ewing, NJ, Jacelyn Tucker.

PHOTO COURTESY of Courtney Ciandella