African Unity held its first Mystic Night event last Saturday.
“One thing we observed while advertising the event was that people kept asking, ‘What is that? What is it about?” Nyimma Kolley, AU event planner and psychology major, said. “As we put things together, the purpose of our event became clearer. We wanted to do something different from our precious events, which would be a sort of midpoint between our Banquet and Ubunye.”
This is how the event was conceived.
The event started with blinding lights. The hosts, Donny Heights and Lola Adekoya constantly engaged the crowd and kept the show going.
“I have high expectations,” international business & marketing major Zafarou Tandiogora said. “I’m expecting brands I haven’t heard of before and an engaging performance.”
The night was kicked off with a fashion walk from the upcoming company Illuminate.co.
“We always had dreams of making our own clothes and starting a business, but we didn’t know how to go about it. After speaking with previous AU fashion designers, we finally had what we needed to get our business off the ground,” Anye Frimpong, co-founder of illuminate and computer science major said. “There aren’t a lot of black owned businesses out there. The idea behind the brand was to create a black owned business that addressed the needs of black people.”
The other co-founders are Emmanuel Akuamoah, Tiemoko Soumano and Moussa Keita.
Their line up featured different colored hoodies and T-shirts with their brand name. Models wore regular or ripped jeans. The style was casual every day.
After the colorful walk, High Voltage, a dance group on campus followed up with an invigorating dance performance that amazed the crowd.
“Practice was exhausting, but as soon as I stepped out to perform, I felt a rush of energy,” Prince Hall, a performer and broadcast journalism major, said. “We put in a lot of hours and the crowd’s energy was our reward.”
Pop That was the next activity introduced by the emcees. It involved two people trying to pop a balloon without using their hands. The participants had fun, sitting on the balloon lapped by their partner to pop it and a particular group using their leg to pop the balloon, which resulted in them finishing first.
Spicy Island Tings was a series of cultural Carribean dances performed by a large dance group. The dances were high energy, leaving the crowd ecstatic and wanting more.
“When people think of Carribean dancing, they think of twerking or splits and not creative moves or routines,”Njeri Hazel, Spicy Island Tings choreographer said. “I wanted to incorporate different dances and song genres such as dancehall and Afrobeat.”
There was an intermission followed by the Women Embodiment line, an initiative Elizabth Sesay, co-public relations officer championed.
This line featured women of different body shapes and skin topes dressed in lingerie wearing robes. Afterwards, Sesay quoted a poem about reclaiming souls by Julia Corbett then delivered a speech.
“The point of the segment was to appreciate women of all shades, shapes, and sizes,” Sesay said. “Society wants us to cover up, but we have the choice to show our bodies when we want. I really wanted to incorporate this in AU’s event because women worldwide, especially women in Africa, are raised to cover up and dress a certain way because of the dangers out there.”
Grinin n Shiii was a highly loved segment of the show that got loads of engagement and interaction on social media. This segment involved four individuals sitting on chairs and having a pre-chosen partner grind on them. The performance drew cheers from the crowd as many left their seats to record, especially the moment when one of the grinders knocked the grindee to the floor and continued grinding.
“I feel like this was a great opportunity for students to let loose,” Frimpong said.
This excitement was increased when the African Unity dancers performed. The last fashion line was Trap Safely NYC. The line featured street wear.
“My brother Michael and his best friend Yaz started this business with the idea of encouraging young black people to make money but do it in a safe way.” Abena Boateng, an alumna from the class of ‘19 and public relations officer for Trap Safely NYC said. “Fast forward five years and today they have a trap museum that brings people together to learn in Brooklyn.”
“Seeing this line was an inspiration for us,” Frimpong said. “It made me feel like if they could do it then so can we.”
“One of the most important things was being patient,” Kevina Burgess, Modeling instructor and social work major said. “I realized that there were some people modeling for the first time but I prepared so they could showcase the brands during the show.”
“Practice was hard,” Princess said. “But at the end of the day, I’m glad I didn’t give up cause the crowd’s reaction was worth it.”
Donny Heights and Lola Adekoya concluded the show and thanked the crowd for their energy.
“At first I was really nervous, but as the show went on I calmed down,” co-host Donny Heights said. “It was my first time hosting an event for my club and I’m really glad it turned out well.”
“I hope to see more events like this on campus. I feel like it adds to the diversity of our campus,” Raven Cunningham, a psychology major said.