Photo courtesy of Ayla Safran ’18
DJ Storm spun everything from West African to Top 40 hits at the Association of Pan African Unity’s “Bad and Boujee” party on Saturday, Feb. 11.
BY GABBY RAYMOND '20
On Feb. 11, the Association of Pan African Unity hosted Bad and Boujee in Chapin Auditorium. The proceeds from the party will be used to fund APAU’s participation in the upcoming Black Solidarity Conference, a student-run conference that draws hundreds of undergraduates to Yale University to discuss issues pertaining to the African Diaspora, according to the conference’s website. “Most of the money will be used to bring our members to the Black Solidarity Conference. The school pays for about 25% of our expenses, so we have to come up with the rest of the money to be able to fund the travel for 28 women,” said APAU co-chair Tysha Vulcain ’17.
The APAU was the first cultural organization to be founded at Mount Holyoke, and has a mission to not only increase awareness of African-American cultural heritage within the Mount Holyoke and Five College communities, but also serve as a support group that facilitates social activities to bring people of color together.
To promote the events, APAU reaches out both members of the Five College Consortium and other colleges in the Pioneer Valley. APAU social chair Shante Henderson ’18 said, “It takes a lot of patience to put together such a large event. Communication is important because we want to be inclusive, so we advertise at all the colleges in the area including the Five Colleges, Elms College, Springfield College, American International College and Western New England University.”
Jevon Smith, a first year student at American International College said, “I love coming to these parties because there are always a lot of people, the atmosphere is welcoming and the DJ is great — he plays everything from R&B and reggae to old school Hip-Hop.”
APAU is very careful about choosing a DJ that utilizes a wide variety of musical styles relevant to the organization. “We like a DJ that can play everything. Blackness is not just one size fits all — we want to add all types of music so that everyone can be included and enjoy a style they are familiar with,” Vulcain. The styles represented on Saturday included West African, Soca, Reggae and Top 40 hits.
APAU uses the proceeds from the parties they host to organize events to spread awareness of different African cultures. “There’s no doubt we have thrown some of the best parties in the Pioneer Valley, but as an organization we also offer a safe space for students who identify in the African Diaspora, which then allows us to raise awareness and get speakers within the Five Colleges,”said co-chair Heaven Hodge ’18.
A large portion of their proceeds go towards funding the various events they host during Black History Month for the next year. For Black History Month this year, APAU hosted a number of events, including a quilting workshop with Sisters for Stitches, a lecture by Babalawo Ifakunle discussing traditional West African spirituality and a film screening of DoDo TiTi, which tells the story of a Haitian immigrant in America.