Crimson Culture event showcases artistic diversity

Ashanka Kumari

In an almost packed Ferguson Center Theater Sunday night, 13 multicultural student organizations from across campus and the Tuscaloosa community performed songs, dances and poetry as part of the first annual Crimson Culture Festival of the Arts.

Okha Patel, president of The South Asian Society and Student Government Association deputy director of engagement, said she hopes future leaders will continue to premiere Crimson Culture.

“Tonight’s event showed that hard work does pay off,” Patel said. “This event gave students, faculty and the Tuscaloosa community a little taste of diversity at UA. There are so many multicultural, talented organizations that people aren’t aware of. Our ultimate goal was to start a cultural hype on campus. I feel we achieved all of our goals and more. Attendance was absolutely phenomenal, and we hope students will be interested in new cultures.”

Chase Burnham, SGA director of engagement, said Crimson Culture was designed to bring a variety of diverse organizations together.

“It’s not a competition,” Burnham said. “We just wanted to incorporate all parts of campus and get everyone together.”

The showcase was hosted by TSAS and the SGA Office of Engagement and included performances from the Afro-American Gospel Choir, Phillip Sims, Bollywood Groove and KadeshFlow among others and concluded with a performance from the Taiko Drummers, a group from the Japan-US Cultural Exchange Club.

Ryan “KadeshFlow” Davis performed a piece from his new Nerdcore collection and said he felt this event was a chance to showcase this up-and-coming style of hip-hop.

“It’s rap using nerd and geek themes, technology, anime and video games,” Davis said. “It’s a relatively new genre and a counter-cultural history movement. [This event] was a chance to perform some of my Nerdcore stuff.”

Elizabeth Schweers, a junior majoring in geography, said she thought the showcase was great because it introduced the community to a variety of cultures to which they may not have been previously exposed. “These kinds of events are great because they foster a sense of community that makes our campus stronger,” Schweers said. “This event was especially interesting because it showcased a lot of Asian culture. There were singers and dancers from China, a Bengali singer and Turkish dancers. … These are areas in the world that are very important, but you don’t often learn about them in school.”

Schweers said she believes cultural events allow students to learn about other cultures outside of a classroom.

“I believe that understanding different cultures and environments is instrumental in the creation of a more peaceful and more cohesive international society,” she said. “Cultural events are a great way to experience other cultures without the stuffy classroom atmosphere. That is why this event was fun.”

Before the show began, guests were given the chance to try a variety of Asian-themed foods including empanadas and yakitori. Rachel Kasson, a junior majoring in environmental science, said she felt this aspect of the event was lacking.

“I’m glad the event was put on, it was an interesting opportunity to see a variety of acts from different cultures,” Kasson said. “The Japanese [Taiko] drummers were the best. Overall it was enjoyable but some parts of it were slow. Apparently they ordered just enough food to feed the gospel choir and other performers, so they ran out before the actual guests arrived at 6 for a 6:30 show.”

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