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Harambee's African Culture Showcase promotes talent, heritage

Allen Waddell, left, 15, and Styles Speights, 15, are freshmen from Gibbs High who will perform an Alvin Ailey-inspired modern dance routine at Thursday's African Culture Showcase in St. Petersburg.

KIRK BELL | Special to the Times

Allen Waddell, left, 15, and Styles Speights, 15, are freshmen from Gibbs High who will perform an Alvin Ailey-inspired modern dance routine at Thursday's African Culture Showcase in St. Petersburg.

Joquetta Wooden, a student at St. Petersburg College, aspires to become a music producer, ghostwriter, poet and a dancer. But on Monday, her focus was on practicing We are Women, a poem for the second annual African Culture Showcase.

Harambee (African American Student Union) at St. Petersburg College will host the showcase at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

The program displays talents of people from African and African-American heritage. The admission is free.

Wooden, 18, a music production major from Tallahassee, first learned about Harambee during a Summer Success Program.

"After I heard the speaker from Harambee, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the club," Wooden said.

Wooden is now a member of the Harambee's leadership team. "I'm a busy person," said Wooden, who is the public relations specialist for Harambee, the manager for the college girls' basketball team and a sales associate at a TJ Maxx store.

The event got its start as a talent show proposal, but the club decided to go with a showcase to feature acts and performances that targeted the African culture.

There will be about 10 artists featured in the showcase, including the Kuumba dancers and drummers, Dundu Dole African dancers and drummers, and other acts from the Tampa Bay area.

"The performances range from African ballet troupes, gumboot stompers, vocalist, pianist, poets and dance groups, all of whom are local," said Janet Wright, St. Petersburg College's students services officer.

Darius Carter, 35, performer and board member for Dundu Dole, has been with the dance troupe for 12 years. He hopes that the community will come out and support the creativity of the children in the showcase.

The event will also feature a performance from Clifford Thomas, 16, a sophomore at Lakewood High, who does creative hip-hop dance moves called the "pop-locking and ticking."

Thomas didn't learn his smooth dance moves from a dance instructor or from a popular dance studio, he learned his moves from watching TV and from his friends.

"I hope that people will come to the showcase, because there's a lot of good talent," said Thomas.

For information, call Wright at (727) 341-4629.

Nikeya Williams is a reporter for the Neighborhood News Bureau, a program of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

If you go

African Culture Showcase

Hosted by Harambee, the showcase is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 341-4629. Free.

Harambee's African Culture Showcase promotes talent, heritage 02/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:15pm]
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