Soul Explosion hits Mall

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Afrocentricity and African cultural awareness will be exhibited through performance, merchandise and information booths on the Mall this Friday as the African American Cultural Resource Center, in conjunction with the City of Tucson and the Tucson Urban League present the Second Annual Tucson Soul Explosion and African Market Day.

Student performers, including the Cholla High School Drill Team, UA's Sigma Gamma Rho steppers and individual dance majors on campus will be performing as part of the Soul Explosion. The Explosion will also feature the Tucson-based contemporary jazz group Jasz, led by Orville Riggs.

The cultural festival aims to draw people from other ethnic groups into the African-American experience at the UA. Robin Lemon-Soape, program coordinator for the African-American day, says that "every culture gets to be featured during Cultural Awareness Week. We look forward to presenting African culture, history and awareness on the UA campus to everyone."

As part of the African Market Day, merchants from Tucson and Phoenix will gather on the Mall to sell African books, clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts, children's games, kente cloth and hats.

Information tables will provide a look into some contemporary issues surrounding today's African-American experience. These include youth Summer and college opportunities with an emphasis on job placement, an Increase the Peace/Stop the Violence booth, and a booth disseminating information on AIDS related issues.

Cash prizes will be given in an African UA history multiple-choice quiz for those who can correctly identify historical UA dates and names of famous African-American representatives from the UA

Jesse Hargrove, assistant dean of African American Student Affairs at the African American Cultural Resource Center, hopes to connect the UA to the greater community through the Tucson Soul Explosion and African Market Day.

"It will be an opportunity to expose the UA students and campus to vendors and performers who deal with Afrocentric products and information. Our university is committed to networking the campus with the community" Hargrove said.

The Second Annual Tucson Soul Explosion and African Market Day will be held this Friday, March 24, on the Mall from 10-4 p.m.

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