This Saturday, the Appalachian Collegiate Center is getting cultured.
The African Student Organization (ASO) is hosting Culture Shock, their annual multicultural talent show. The event will feature seven acts, from Binghamton University as well as from other universities, all competing for a $500 prize.
“The purpose of Culture Shock is to show that we are united through talent and different cultures,” said Fatoumata Kane, ASO president and a senior majoring in political science.
This year, BU a cappella group Rhythm Method will open for the seven competing acts. BU will be represented by dance groups Hoop Troop and Uyai Nnua, plus a cappella group The Binghamtonics and solo singer Precious Johnson, a junior majoring in theatre. Dancers from SUNY Oswego’s African Student Organization, University at Albany’s Maddshott Dancerz and Syracuse University’s Otto’s Empire Belly Dance Troupe will also perform.
Jaedyn Lalonde, the treasurer of Hoop Troop and a junior double-majoring in biology and environmental studies, said she is looking forward to competing.
“We work so hard on creating choreography and practicing it over and over until we get it just right,” Lalonde said. “I also love watching all the other performances and seeing how talented the BU student-group population is. [Culture Shock] is always a fun event with lots of energy.”
Maryam Durosinmi, treasurer of ASO and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, explained that the process for selecting performers considers the community feel of the event.
“As a team, we brainstormed which teams haven’t performed for us before to diversify the performances,” Durosinmi said. “We’ve never had belly dancers before, and it’s something different, which we hope will bring a different crowd outside of the African community.”
The groups will be judged on not only raw talent but also on audience engagement. The winner will be chosen by three judges: Patricia Lespinasse, an assistant professor of Africana studies; Samantha Ng, the president of the Asian Student Union and a junior double-majoring in human development and Asian and Asian American studies; and Lexie Avery, career consultant in residence at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development.
Avery said she’s excited to see how talented BU students are and that she’s “prepared to be amazed.”
“There are so many students on this campus that excel academically but are also so incredibly engaged in their passion areas so I’m happy to be a part of a passion project,” Avery wrote in an email. “It’s also a unique opportunity to engage with students outside of academics or careers so I’m excited to see students that I recognized having critiqued their resume or having done a mock interview with them.”
Although the acts are competing against each other for the prize, Kane said that Culture Shock aims to be more than your average talent show.
“We really try to emphasize unity through different cultures and talents [and] you will see a mixture of a lot of different cultures and talents,” Kane said. “It’s almost like you’re exploring the whole globe.”
The event will be at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Appalachian Collegiate Center. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.