By Sariah Lake
On October 27th, the African-Caribbean Society (ACS) hosted their Black History Month showcase, featuring a variety of performances from the university’s students. The acts ranged from singing and dancing to poetry performances as well, with the audience engaging in games and activities throughout the night.
The event was hosted by Stan Kadzunge ‘Huncho Stan’, an Essex alumnus who is also the university’s Fan Engagement and Matchday Entertainment Officer.
“Colchester is a very White area and sometimes it’s very easy to feel scared, to feel like a minority statistic. You shouldn’t feel like that, because that brings fear and you should be confident, but ACS should always empower. When you’re with your people, enjoy yourself. You can be loud and you can be all those things people say you are,” the host shared, expressing his support for ACS in this showcase and all future endeavors.
As a senior member of staff, Stan hopes to use his post to give a voice to his community, sharing that being able to collaborate with ACS is especially meaningful for him.
The evening opened with a spoken word performed by Temi, taking on the Black experience in an empowering delivery.
This was followed by a cover of ‘Stand Up’ by artist Keji, who later performed her original song titled ‘Dirty’.
When asked about her powerful performance, Keji shared her preparation experience and said she participated in the showcase due to her love for performance and for showcasing Black art and talent.
Hers was not the only musical performance with Abraham Oghagbon (AB) singing an original song. In an interview, AB discussed that the showcase was an opportunity for him to get out of his comfort zone more with his music.
Later in the night, Jonathan Dwyer gave a smooth rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.
Overall, it was a night of entertainment and cultural togetherness.
Throughout the show, the audience was entertained with numerous dance performances by a dance group which the members formed for the showcase.
Dylan Nyathi, another poet, took the stage with his poem “The Black Berry”. When asked about his participation in the showcase, he expressed he came into the performance with nerves but felt himself become strengthened in the process. He described his poem as “written from pain but spoken from purpose.”
Beyond the performances, the ACS execs hosted quizzes for audience participation, ending the night with a Kahoot trivia and awarding a £50 prize for the winner.
The audience seemed satisfied with the night.
“My favourite performance was Keji’s ‘Stand Up’, it was really powerful,” student Gabriel Aigbogun shared, describing the night as a night of “Black Unity”.
The ACS executive team poured their all into the showcase. Events Officer, Zaynab Sowege, shared her Behind-The-Scenes on the organisation process. The event planning began back in August, taking place down to the week of the show.
Zaynab also participated in the dance performances alongside: Nuria Lima Do Espirito Santo, Eva Darold-Tchiyaka, Swabra Kavatiri, and Iradah Adegunwa.
She ended off with these words, hoping the night resonated with university students.
“ACS is here to stay; ACS is here to be loud and proud with our culture.”