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“Unite” with Verve

by Archives November 29, 2006

Cultural show ‘the Verve’ last Friday night was strong on creativity and open-mindedness; qualities that the student group collective who organized it are pursuing in an effort to contribute to a peaceful and united – but still opinionated – student body.

The event was put together by UMOJA – which means ‘unity’ in Swahili – and the African Student Association of Concordia (ASAC), and featured a repertoire of African tribal drum dancing, spoken word lyricists, an African buffet and live hip-hop and reggae. A screening of Real Talk MTL, a film presented in collaboration with CUTV, was also shown as part of the event in Concordia’s Hall building auditorium.

Shot on the downtown campus, Real Talk MTL features Concordia students in an original story about acceptance and prejudice. The main character, Gabe, played by UMOJA President Dwight Best, condemns racial prejudice and demonstrates respect for his fellow man. He is a foil to the unruly, rage-filled Chip, played by Jito Kayumba, who also happens to be ASAC’s president. Gabe dies in the end of the movie from AIDS and Chip learns his lesson, reconciling with his homosexual friend, God, himself and his cross-racial dating acquaintance.

Spencer Delisle, who is a coach with Art of Living, said about the film, “It was funny, it was touching, it was really nice to see his awareness as a filmmaker.” He added, “You get the most genuine reaction of people.”

Corey Edwards, a spoken word lyricist and performer at the event, said he enjoyed the variety of performances ‘the Verve’ offered. “It’s putting out images of Africa and showing that Africa is very diverse. It also shows the lighter side with elements that are very inspiring and very beautiful,” said Edwards after the show.

“Our nature is to bring people together,” said Best, “and having Africa as a point of reference means that it breeds a kind of mentality where you are accepting the people.”

Best described UMOJA as an “umbrella association linking together members of the African Diaspora” – that is, anyone who finds identity in the African continent or who wants to know more about African culture.

The group’s aim is to unite clubs on campus and already cradles four specific groups: the African Student Association of Concordia, the National Society of Black Engineers, Concordia Caribbean Students Union Group and Le ralliement

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