Macaroni and cheese and barbecue ribs were never so deliciously gratifying as they were at the Black Student Union's annual Soul Food Dinner on Saturday. The event, titled "Coming to Amerika 2," offered dinner and a show prepared by the BSU chefs and thespians, respectively.
Those who attended found themselves engulfed in African-American culture and heritage that permeated the food served, the production performed and the cultural dances put together by various members of the group.
Traditional dishes like rice and beans, deep-fried chicken wings, candied yams and grilled tofu were served alongside the aforementioned favorites. "It's cool that BSU is hosting this event," said freshman Katelyn Lagatella. "I gotta say … the barbecue ribs won me over, I could chow down on those for days."
Lagatella's appreciation was a unanimous sentiment in the Union Ballroom that night. Students' eyes lit up when BSU members placed platters of cheesy noodles in front of their awestruck faces.
When the meal came to a close, the actors and actresses of BSU were ready to take the stage for their rendition of the 1988 Eddie Murphy classic Coming to America.
The story goes that upon his 21st birthday, an African prince (Murphy's character) is arranged to marry the woman his royal parents have chosen for him. In his attempt to fight the customs of fictional country Zamunda, the prince voyages to America to find a woman whom he can appreciate for who she is and vice versa.
Freshman Awa Gaye portrayed Murphy's role through the character Princess Fola of the African kingdom ZamunDaDaDa. The princess wants to find love and is not content with the men she has been arranged to marry, so she decides to venture to America: the land of opportunity.
When Gaye's character arrives in America, she is slightly disappointed in her bad luck with men until she meets James Kennedy. Kennedy, played by senior Andre McDuffie, owns a fried chicken restaurant. Kennedy is nothing like the princes she had been set to marry all of her life – a feature that makes him all the more perfect.
The performance also highlighted the struggles that many individuals from foreign countries face upon their arrival to America, such as the difficulty of securing living arrangements and earning money. The show ended with an exchange of vows between the two characters.
Money raised from the Soul Food Dinner will go straight to BSU funds in hopes that the organization can continue to grow. BSU is planning several events for later in the semester including a must-see fashion show.