Student organizations from both Wayne State and University of Detroit Mercy are teaming up for the 13th annual Roots culture show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 25 at the Community Arts Building.
Wayne African Student Society Social Chair Idara Ubong said that this year’s event focuses on the theme “from the roots up” and will have a transitional feel of “traditional to modern.”
The traditional portion will include a fashion show with fashions from various countries, ancestral dancing, a drumming performance, adornment body art and modeling.
The modern half features West African dancing groups, a House of Zuri Ankara fashion show, rap exhibitions and a step performance from the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
The show will be a collaboration between the Wayne African Student Society and the UDM's African Student Caribbean Association. This year marks the first time two universities have collaborated on the show’s creation in the 13 years of it running.
Ubong said that the decision to collaborate was made final after a meeting between WASS president Kambuza Mugala and UDM's ASCA president Ayomide Okunlola.
“My favorite part of the whole process was the collaboration with University of Detroit Mercy in general,” Ubong said. “We had a lot of talent and ideas bounced between our two groups and we implemented those efforts in various ways into the show. Also, I, along with members from both associations, are in a dance group. We worked hard to put it all together and I am excited to see our work pay off.”
According to WSU demographics, the university has 73 students from African countries currently enrolled. Former WASS member and alumna Dalia Balewa said that she believes all students should attend the celebration to become culturally enlightened, even if they’re not of African or African American descent.
“People would receive an introduction to the African story, journey and culture,” Balewa said. “Events like this really help people get an understanding of the continent and the people who come from there.”
International student from Nigeria Onyedikachukwu Umeokolo said that he was interested to see how the continent of Africa and his home country would be represented by the cultural show.
“Africa isn’t just the things they show you on TV, isn’t just hunger and poor people,” Umeokolo said. “People need to understand that Africa is more than what they see on TV.”
The Roots cultural event is free to the public and will be held in the Community Arts Building at Reuther Mall. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. There will be an after party at Tony V’s Tavern with a dancehall and Afrobeat musical theme which will be hosted by DJ DontJealousMe. Other special guests include Prince J Nice and DJ Freshwaves.