African American Celebration Month in full swing with a Taste of Africa


The Center for Multicultural Initiatives(CMI) hosted its annual event, Taste of Africa, at the banquet rooms on Friday, Feb.12 at the Oakland Center. 

African American Celebration Month (AACM) at Oakland continued with the Taste of Africa event.

Held Friday, Feb. 12, the party went from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Banquet Rooms of the OC. It was put on by the Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI).

Throughout the night, over 500 attendees took part in the joyous festivities, beginning with the food. 

With a giant, buffet-style spread, people piled their plates high with delicious African and African-American cuisine, including Caribbean jerk chicken, candied yams and macaroni and cheese. Of course, the meal wasn’t complete without desserts such as peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.

The evening was then filled with a lineup of fun and lively performances.

Opening was the high-energy dance routines of NPHC, a group with the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority that got the crowd going.

Another great dance performance was ProdiJee. Dressed in all black, the three members danced to a cool mashup of songs. With crisp movements in unison, they created a unique visual experience.

There were also many great vocal performances. K’yera McClinic was accompanied by the instrumentals of Marcell Seldon, Jon Ball and Evan Jones in singing a variety of classic songs, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “P.Y.T.”

The MERGE Gospel Choir of OU sang harmoniously in their renditions of Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me”and Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome.”

Vocalist Al Bettis gave a soulful performance of original compositions, joined by talented back-up singers. Brenette Shines was an equally great addition, singing “All of Me.” There was even an instrumental performance, as Theodore Manning soothed the audience with his saxophone.

This was the first time student Paige Kargol, a junior in human resources development, had gone to this event.

“Everyone was in such a great mood, so it was really nice getting to experience that,” she said.

In addition, guests could check out different vendors who sold things like custom-made cards, CDs and jewelry.

Shayla McCullough, a junior majoring in wellness, health promotion and injury prevention, is a member of the CMI. She liked how much entertainment was packed into the night.

“A lot of our events are more educational and touch on serious topics. This is more of a celebration,” she said.

Stretching from Jan. 18 to Feb. 18, AACM kicked off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. OU has been celebrating AACM for over 40 years.

Earlier events included the MLK Day of Service, LOVE Naturally’s Women Empowerment Expo and the “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” screening and discussion panel.

Amy Joa, retention coordinator of the CMI and part of the celebration month committee, recognizes how valuable these events are to Oakland.

“African American Celebration Month is important at OU because it reflects our ongoing commitment to celebrating the historical and cultural contributions that African Americans have made in the past, present and future,” she said. “AACM allows our campus community to share, grow and celebrate African Americans together.”

OU’s African American Celebration Month will wrap up with a Closing Ceremony on Feb. 18. It will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge of the OC. Over light refreshments, the plan is to reflect on this year’s events and give thanks to the many sponsors and supporters, according to the AACM website.

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1)      The celebration continues with a Taste of Africa

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3)      The month-long party continues with a Taste of Africa