The Appalachian African Community put on an African show that included fashion, dancing and homemade African cuisine on Saturday evening in the Linville Falls Room 226 in the Plemmons Student Union.
The Appalachian African Community is a campus club that strives to create awareness and celebrate African culture, according to their website. The club believes in inclusivity and even welcoming those to join who aren’t of African descent.
“The African fashion show is the largest event for the AAC, it’s a great way to share African culture,” Cassidy Storm, senior sustainable development major and president of the club, said.
Storm learned about the club from a friend on her hall who invited her to join, and ensured her that the club was welcoming of people of all races and ethnicities.
Storm went on to disclose that she had reservations about being the president of the Appalachian African Community because she is white and not of African ancestry.
“I was worried about taking the position, I see my being president as a service to the club because I stepped in during a time when we needed help,” Storm said.
The club brought guest models and dancers from the neighboring school, East Tennessee State University. Huy Tu, a second year graduate student said, “I really appreciated the last two dancers, they inspired me, the way they moved was so beautiful.”
Participants modeled an assortment of outfits made of woven cloth. Bright, dark and neutral colors were all worn that evening. Men, women and couples took the stage to model ankara fabrics, african kaftans and kente cloth.
The event had three sections of fashion, two dance performances, a musical performance and an intermission for African food. The food consisted of Nigerian fufu, plantains, a vegetable stew, fried fritters and more.
“I appreciated seeing the beauty of African cultures and the ethnic seasonings in the food, it was so good,” Tu said.
Cassidy Storm’s sister, Molly Storm, a high school junior in Greensboro, walked in the fashion show.
“I was incredibly nervous to begin with, but the audiences reactions encouraged me,” Storm said. “It was a lot of fun.”
All of the clothes in the fashion show were donated by the community; including students and faculty members.
“We borrowed clothes for the show, and there was a massive pile of outfits to choose from, it was a ‘first dibs’ sort of thing,” Storm said.
“I thought it was great to have a celebration of African cultures, it was interesting to see the different styles of dress, music and dance,” Brandon Winbush, junior music education major said.
“Being that Appalachian State is a predominately white institution, cultural events act as an educational experience for some, but also as a familiar or safe space for minority students,” Tu said.
Tu said that it was good to see “my black and brown friends enjoying themselves, I learned more about African fashion, but I liked the food and dancing best.”
Winbush said that the African club existed, but this was the first event of theirs that he attended and it was great. The event concluded with all models and performers dancing a choreographed routine to Nigerian tunes. Later, the audience was invited to join in on the celebration.
Story by: Ariel Green, A&E Reporter