It Was a Memorable Evening at the AASA Banquet

If you heard the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday and Dorothy Dandridge resonating through the air on Saturday night, don’t be alarmed. You were not experiencing another dimension of the Twilight Zone that trapped you in the Cotton Club era. It was the performers at the AASA (African American Student Alliance) banquet during Family Weekend. It was a heart warming “Family Affair” event at the Edge that had families laughing and swaying to the legendary music that brought back memories and enjoyment overall. The hosts, Rufus and JJ (Vonzelle Johnson and Henoch Derbew), kept the audience in good spirits through their skits, impersonations and interactive interludes between performances. The show opened with the Gospel Choir’s performance of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “So Good.” Other performances included Ella Fitzgerald (Jessica Theodore), Lena Horne (Karice Rhule), Louis Armstrong (Malik Wright), Billy Holiday (Nzinga Job), Dorothy Dandridge (Andrea Harrison) and the Cotton Club Dancers (Steffi Thomas, Lissy Levy, Genisa Babb and Tiffany Butterfield). This was a huge production that had a team of people working behind the scenes to make this event happen. Choreography by Senior N’seeka MacPherson provided an eye catching picture during Dorothy Dandridge’s performance. Costume designer and stage manager, Courtney Richardson had a lot on her plate as a first-year, but managed to keep everything under control. Senior Alexis Yancey, (AASA’s president) and her dedicated group have been working on this event all semester to ensure that it would be a huge success. Based on the comments from family and friends, it truly was, in more way than one. The banquet not only provided entertainment, but it also educated the younger crowd who may not be familiar with the Cotton Club Era, and the prominent black men and women of that time. So, before you knock yourself over the head trying to figure out if you were another victim of the Twilight Zone, let this be reassurance that this was indeed a reality. Or was it?