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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students experience West Africa

Kamau+Johnson+ties+a+student%E2%80%99s+hair+back+with+a+scarf+while+Adrian+Templeton+explains+what+he%E2%80%99s+doing+to+the+crowd.+%0APhoto+by%3A+Bogdan+Sierra+Miranda%2FThe+Collegian
Kamau Johnson ties a student’s hair back with a scarf while Adrian Templeton explains what he’s doing to the crowd. Photo by: Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
The group Bandan Koro performs for students on South Campus as part of the Black History Month kickoff Feb. 2.  Photo by:  Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
The group Bandan Koro performs for students on South Campus as part of the Black History Month kickoff Feb. 2.
Photo by: Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

South Campus kicked off Black History Month with a day of speeches, food, drums and dance.

Student activities coordinator Stephanie Davenport advocated the importance of Black History Month.

“Black History Month isn’t just black history. It’s American history, and it affects all of us,” she said. “And that’s why it’s important to educate each other.”

Davenport also explained why Black History Month is celebrated in February.

“A lot of the key figures and institutions were born in the month of February, people like Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass,” she said. “Institutions like NAACP and the first Pan-African Congress were started in February … so that’s why we celebrate the culture, the heritage, the experiences and the struggles in the month of February.”

After Davenport spoke, Bandan Koro, an African drum and dance ensemble, took center stage in its traditional West African clothes.

LaDonna Castro wore a festive dancing skirt called a lappa while the men — Tony Browne, Kweku Codrington, Terrance Thomas, Adrian Templeton — wore vibrant shirts called dashikis.

Browne then enlightened listeners on some key values of West African society.

“In West African culture and West African traditions, what is represented in the music is reflective of what is important in the culture,” Browne said. “As such, family is a very important component.”

The value of family is emphasized in the drums some of the members played because they had drums that were nicknamed the father, daughter and baby drums or the dunduns, sangba and kenkeni, respectively.

Not only did group members entertain with song, dance and drumming, but they also got audience participation.  They pulled students out of the crowd, got them to wear traditional West African clothing and had them use the center of the dining hall as their own personal fashion show runway.

They also had students participate in the “Coo Coo” dance, which in West Africa is performed to welcome back the women from their fishing expeditions.

Student Carlos Avalos was impressed by Bandan Koro’s performance.

“They brought a whole culture through music, lyrics and dancing. They exposed us to something that isn’t seen every day,” he said. “The best part of their performance was how they engaged the crowd.”

In addition to Bandan Koro, Chef Sultan Karriem provided healthy alternatives to popular dishes such as mac-and-cheese and fried chicken for the students to savor while they enjoyed the performances.

Avalos found the food delicious and said that he received some of the chef’s recipes.
“I am definitely going to try to make it myself or at least hand them down to my mom,” he said.

 

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