Blue and white balloons lined the halls of the Innovation Center’s third floor last Friday as students, faculty, friends, family and everyone alike gathered to celebrate African culture.
The African Royal Ball, hosted by the African Student Association (ASA), embraced the African-American population at ESU, honoring the school’s diversity.
Doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and attendees waited until 7 p.m. for the event to begin with ticket sales going towards the newly established club.
“This is our second annual African Royal Ball,” said Sarah Owusu, an ASA member. “The event is basically to capture African culture, music, food, and dance. It’s a way for everybody to come out, dress up and socialize.”
The atmosphere was electric as students came dressed in traditional ensembles and showed off their heritage flags, hanging off their backs like capes.
The green and white of the Nigerian flag and the red, yellow and green of the Ghanaian flag were hard to miss among the represented African countries that night.
The main ballroom was filled with vibrant colors, laughter, and music by African artists.
“I couldn’t resist playing this event because it is like family,” said Jamal Avery, the DJ for the night. “It’s good to bring awareness and to spotlight the African culture.”
Avery also attended last year’s event that was held in conjunction with Bloomsburg University’s ASA, of which he was a part of.
Now having graduated, he returned to continue to support the event.
For many, this event was the first they attended to that highlighted African culture in such away.
Even children in attendance were visibly in awe at some of the elaborate, traditional outfits showcased by students.
“I’ve never been to an event like this before,” said student Mahogany Broughton, “and I was curious as to what it would be like.”
As the night progressed, the blue and gold, candlelit tables filled with people.
The delicious scent of food wafted over the crowd.
“I’m here for the food,” laughed Ivana Pittman. “I really came here to taste different cultures.”
Dinner consisted of home-cooked chicken, rice, sweet plantains and more.
As students emptied their plates, the dance floor began to fill up, livening the celebration up even more.
Students, faculty, parents and children alike joined each other on the dance floor, singing along to songs and moving their feet to the beat.
“We’ve come a long way since we started,” said student Alexis-Starr Wilson. “It’s just great to come together and to see everyone just loving and enjoying themselves.”
Starstruck at the success of the event, Wilson also commented on how new both the club and the event are.
Having started just two years ago, ASA is just now digging its roots.
It was preceded by the Black Student Union (BSU), now a separate organization.
The event ended on a high note, as people unaffiliated with club chipped in to help clean up, another shining example of African kinship.
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