African Student Union Hosts PA Talent, Fashion

African Student Union’s annual Talent and Fashion show gave students and grandparents the opportunity to immerse themselves in modern African culture last Saturday night.

Audience members got to see a variety of different acts including several musical performances, SLAM, a skit and a Ugandan dance performance.

At the beginning of the show, ASU provided students with shakers, a very creative way to get the audience excited for the show. Students from all classes attended, along with many parents and grandparents.

The show was MCed by ASU board members Elizabeth Oppong ’12 and Hayato Lee ’12. These two cracked the audience up by pretending to be in a relationship, soon to be married. Laz Nyamakazi ’13 also helped to introduce the show.

Oppong and Lee then introduced the first act, starring Drew D’Alelio ’12 and brother Alec ’14 (with a special appearance by their adorable little brother). The D’Alelio brothers played the guitar to the song “Elias” in a very enjoyable first act of the show. Collin Benedict ’12 remarked on the performance afterwards gushing over the cute and talented trio.

Following the D’Alelio brothers was a performance by SLAM which included Aniebiet Abasi ’11, Kelsey Phinney ’11, Shanera Brodie ’12, Zoe Roschach ’12, Unwana Abasi ’13 and Fatoumata Diarra ’13.

The girls had their faces painted and put on a thundering performance. They stepped and slammed giving yet another amazing performance, one of the highlights of the talent show. After SLAM, Myracle McCoy ’14 made her debut on stage and sang a beautiful song called “Femme de Couleur.” Her sweet voice captivated the audience as she sang the interesting, foreign melody.

In between the acts, Oppong and Lee continued to fake argue and tease each other about their “relationship” with Lee constantly poking fun at an ‘annoyed’ Elizabeth.

Next up, the Yorkies came on stage and sang “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan. This familiar song brought back memories of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and all of the hype from last summer. After the Yorkies, Nora Petrulli ’11 shook her hips in an exotic belly dance to jungle beats and a steady rhythm.

The audience clapped to the beat as she danced impressively. Her dance was followed by an impromptu performance by Oppong who parodied the song “Killing Me Softly” (making a clever jab at Lee as part of their romantic banter.) Lee then presented her with an engagement ring, which was found out to be made of simply cubic zirconium, much to Oppong’s dismay.

This led to the final act by Robert Rush ’14, who rapped “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” His confidence dominated the stage in a fresh performance that had everyone bopping their heads to the beat. After the Talent Show, Oppong and Lee announced that it was time for the fashion show.

This year, the fashion show included traditional African pieces as well as Afro-fusion pieces, which Oppong described were more modern and popular on the runway.

The Afro-fusion pieces were designed by Phillips Academy’s own Gina Sawaya ’13, Camerin Stoldt ’12 and Cassie Coravos ’11. Ladies and gentlemen from all classes strutted on stage in a variety of different clothing and outfits. Very authentic traditional pieces along with the original Afro-fusion student-designed pieces all made appearances in the show.

Following the fashion show, a Ugandan dance group from outside of Phillips Academy performed a traditional cultural dance with costumes, makeup and African music.

Finally, students put on a skit centered around a stereotypical African family. Oppong brought Lee home to meet her parents played by Unwana Abasi and Theo Agbi ’13 who acted like the “typical Nigerian parents.” Also in the skit were Orie Idah ’11 and Chioma Ngwudo ’11 who played two aunts and Arianna Chang ’13 who played Lee’s mother.

Nalyn Yim ’13 enjoyed the skit in particular because “it added to the cultural experience and the audience got to see what it was like inside a stereotypical home.” She loved the entire show and said “the cultural experience made me smile, laugh, and amazed… it was lot’s of fun.”

Oppong, the hardworking president of the club, has been working with Hamed Adeyemi ’11, Vice President of ASU, on the show since June of last year.

When asked about the success of the show she replied, “I think the show went well and I am very proud. Unfortunately, in our media, Africa is portrayed in a very negative light, and it is my hope that events like the African festival allow people to see Africa as a continent rich in culture, and most importantly, a place of great significance and overwhelming opportunity.”