African Student Association hosts Afrocasino

This year, the African Student Association of Guilford College held its annual African Night on Saturday, April 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. in Dana Auditorium. The theme of this year’s African Night was Afrocasino. 

Afrocasino offered attendees a theatrical play narrating the reality of skin-bleaching, dance productions and a fashion show. Afrocasino also included a performance by A-Star, an internationally-acclaimed Ghanaian Artist most commonly known for “Kupe Dance.” The variety of activities at Afrocasino allowed attendees to explore the event through their own interests. 

ASAGC, founded in 2016 by XiXi Tang, is currently the second-largest student-led organization for people of African descent in the Guilford community, following the Black Student Union.

ASAGC’s core values include embracing African culture, community and consciousness. ASAGC has worked to embrace these core values and share them with the Guilford and Greensboro communities at annual African Night events. ASAGC also worked to promote self-awareness and a prideful reflection on traditional roots and upbringing at the event.

“The ASAGC was created with the purpose of creating an avenue for students to navigate African culture and affairs,” said senior  Autin Bryla, ASAGC vice president. “I joined in 2016 as a volunteering actor because it was a chance to put theatre background into practice outside of the classroom while engaging in the narrative of Africa’s culture, community and diaspora. (ASAGC) has broadened my understanding of the African continent and the experiences of African communities worldwide.” 

Afrocasino allowed free entry to both the Guilford and Greensboro communities, allowing the event to reach a larger audience and broaden its impact on the community. Since its origin at Guilford College in 2017, ASAGC’s Annual African Night has allowed members of the Guilford community to bring awareness to African cultures and traditions.

The fashion show included spring and summer-style clothing and bathing suits, as well as formal dresses and suits. Each article of clothing used in the fashion show was designed from traditional African cloth, and pieces displayed ranged from modern-style mermaid gowns to colorful, traditional African clothing. 

Afrocasino also incorporated performances by dance teams from Guilford College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. These dances were performed to lively, upbeat music that engaged attendees.

“I enjoyed all of the performances, though I especially liked the dances by UNCG,” said junior Carrington Smith. “I’ve personally only been to one other program held by (ASAGC) and it was pretty similar (to this one). Though it didn’t have the modeling, skit or A-Star, there was a lot of music and dancing and everyone was just as energetic as they are now.”

Following the dance performances, Afrocasino also offered a short theatrical performance that addressed the controversy of skin-bleaching.

This performance was enacted by students from Guilford College. 

“I really enjoyed (Afrocasino),” said junior Aaneva Johnson-Clarke. “There wasn’t a huge crowd but it was clear that everyone was having fun … I can definitely see myself coming to more of (ASAGC’s) events.” 

After the student performances, ASAGC’s Afrocasino also offered attendees an opportunity to be a part of the event through audience fashion and dance competitions. These performances invited audience members to join the conversation and celebration of African heritage and tradition.

They also allowed audience members to engage directly with the event and the messages that it worked to convey.