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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

ASU holds 2023 Harambee Showcase: ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’

This year, the show featured stories of African family life, culture and expectations.
The+Ethiopian%2FEritrean+dancers+with+their+flags%2C+at+the+Harambee+Cultural+Showcase%2C+as+captured+on+April+8%2C+2022+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FSean+Onamade%29
Sean Onamade
The Ethiopian/Eritrean dancers with their flags, at the Harambee Cultural Showcase, as captured on April 8, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade)

The African Student Union held its annual Harambee Showcase on April 9 with the theme “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” It portrayed cultural dynamics in African families and the conflicts that can sometimes arise from them. The nearly three-hour show blended several acts, including skits, singing, dancing and a fashion show, to help celebrate the diversity of the African diaspora. 

Harambee Assistant Co-Chair George Adae-Mensah, a sophomore, said he worked to ensure that each of these moving parts came together smoothly. The show tells the story of an African mother and daughter who struggle to understand each other until they accidentally switch bodies and literally spend a day in each other’s shoes.

“Seeing the progress we made from planning last semester to putting the show together a week before, I was really excited,” Adae-Mensah said. “I think it was very well executed and came together [well].”

Afro Fusion performing at the Harambee Cultural Showcase, as captured April 8, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade)
Afro Fusion performing at the Harambee Cultural Showcase, as captured April 8, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade) (Sean Onamade)

The show featured several different styles of dance, including hip-hop, majorette and traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean performances — highlighting the cultures and talents of students. For the majorette dance, performers danced in the aisles of the audience before making their way onstage for individual solos. 

Sophomore Daniyah Bowen noted that the thrill of performing is what encouraged her to shift from spectator last year to participant this time around. 

“It’s different being a part of it,” Bowen said. “It was really cool seeing everyone perform together and getting the opportunity to show out.”

For the fashion portion, students modeled their outfits onstage before striking a pose for the photographer. The show was split into two parts — the first featuring mainly dresses while the second included a swimsuit portion and more male models. Traditional African clothing, prints and body paint were all on display. Some participants walked out carrying the flag of the country that inspired their outfit as a homage. 

The Ethiopian/Eritrean dance at the Harambee Cultural Showcase, as captured on April 8, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade)
The Ethiopian/Eritrean dance at the Harambee Cultural Showcase, as captured on April 8, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade) (Sean Onamade)

First-year Hailee Hall noticed that even all the way from the audience, she could feel the performers’ passion and love for the show. For her, it set Harambee apart from any other events this year. 

“It was such a beautiful culmination of culture,” Hall said. “All of the work that was put into it was well shown through the dancing, acting and songs.”

This year, the show emphasized common experiences among the African-American community. The main character was a college-aged woman whose mother constantly pressures her to study harder to become a doctor. Later scenes took place in a church, inviting the audience to participate as they listened to the “sermon” of a pastor, played by Sophomore Sam Boison. 

First-year Kelsey Barnes, who played the main character’s best friend, was extremely pleased with the show and expressed a desire to continue her involvement in the years to come. 

“I cannot wait to participate in more,” Barnes said. “By my senior year, I can see myself doing a lot of different things, maybe even majorette or hip hop dancing.”

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About the Contributors
Marques Watson, Deputy Life Editor
Marques Watson (‘26) is majoring in elementary education in Peabody College. He is originally from Dallas, Texas. When not writing for The Hustler, Marques can be often found studying Spanish, reading a good mystery novel or scouring the internet for new vinyls to collect. He can be reached at [email protected]
Sean Onamade, Digital Director
Sean Onamade (‘25) is from Calgary, Canada, and is majoring in computer science in the School of Engineering. When not staying up late to work on code, Sean snaps photos, hits the gym and takes some time to learn a new language. He can be reached at [email protected].
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