This past weekend, on March 4th, MHACASA (Mount Holyoke African & Caribbean Students’ Association) hosted AC Day (African and Caribbean Day). The theme was KASA: A Celebration of Resistance. Ethiopia, Rwanda, the Spanish Caribbean, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Sudan, Liberia, and Jamaica (my beloved country) were represented in this year’s show.
This show was dear to my heart for several reasons: Liberia
1. My schools in Miami — elementary, middle or high School — didn’t place any special emphasis on Black Culture, even during Black History Month, nor did the Black students in my schools ever make much of an effort to put any show or awareness of our culture together, and if they did, it wasn’t one we could be proud of. To see a show where a group of Black students came together to show and celebrate their respective cultures, background and countries together and share how rich it was with the surrounding community is nothing short of amazing.
2. Oh the joys of food from home! About a week or so before going to AC Day, someone had microwaved food in my dorm, which smelled like Jamaican food and I felt so “food-sick”…if such a thing exists. Needless to say, any cravings I had were satisfied.South Sudan
3. The culture sharing made me proud. What I mean by this is that not all the students who were in the Jamaican dance were Jamaican; the same goes for all the other countries as well. This shows how we as a Black community can come together for a special cause, bypassing any cultural barriers.
I think it was wonderful to see how in love each person was with their countries of origin and their culture. I think in the tumultuous times our country is facing, and with this consistent need of this nation’s past and possibly current agenda to erase people’s identities or paint them as inferior, it is strengthening and empowering to see such pride in our cultures and heritage and to not be ashamed of that. Ethiopia
I also found it inspiring how, although currently in America, the students who performed in the show were in touch and aware of the conditions within their countries and fight, even while overseas, to combat certain issues in their countries of origin as well as to share this struggle with students of the surrounding countries, trusting them enough to help them represent it and tell those stories.
Being Jamaican, I was, of course, ecstatic for the representation of my country. While I loved the dance (it was mostly Dancehall), it was all contemporary dancing and I wished that they’d included more traditional Jamaican dances, which play an essential role in connecting us to our ancestors. Nigeria
However, the dances they did were what I grew up on before I left Jamaica and to see them again basically made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
For a better understanding of Jamaican traditional dances, here is a video:
I can only say that I look forward to next year’s AC Day and how much prouder it will make me. For a review of last year’s AC Day, click here.
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