This year’s AfroFunk: Culture in Motion, a free museum-style event highlighting local black artists, will be held Thursday, Feb. 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the third floor of Talley Student Union. African Student Union president and one of the event’s organizers, Tolu Babalola, said students can enjoy free food and art from local talents, including the works of Elikem Dodor, a second-year studying science, technology and society.
“We were really excited about featuring artists that go here at State, some that many people probably don’t know are artists, so we’re happy to give them a platform to share their art,” Babalola said.
Another one of the event’s organizers, Josi Ocran, a third-year studying social work, said AfroFunk has increased the number of artists since last year’s event.
“Last year was the very first one,” Ocran said. “It was pretty small. I don’t think a lot of people heard about it … Last year, they only had like four artists. This year, we definitely have more than four. I think we have 7-10, probably, so it definitely seems like this will be an event that continues to grow with NC State as the years pass.”
According to Babalola, AfroFunk’s purpose is to emphasize the importance of exhibiting and highlighting black artists, because they are often overlooked, or other people are put above them.
“Our whole thing is ‘the future is bright black,’ so we have bright artists, who will hopefully be very successful, and their art, and they deserve to have a space to showcase that,” Babalola said.
Ocran said what separates this event from other Black History Month celebrations on campus is the platform given to black artists to showcase their form of art, no matter how unconventional.
“I think this one is unique because it gives individual black artists at NC State a platform to showcase their art,” Ocran said. “The one thing that we also wanted to do was include different forms of art, so whether it be something unconventional, like hairdressing or jewelry, things like that, we really encourage people to sign up … We really appreciate that this gives students a space to showcase whatever they perceive as art to other students.”
After going to the event last year, Babalola said she wanted to be a part of making AfroFunk and Black History Month on campus as bright as possible. Babalola said AfroFunk is critical to the NC State and Raleigh communities as a whole, because the event shows that black artists are here and deserve recognition.
“The event is for everyone,” Ocran said. “Black art is created from black artists; however, it is made with the intention that it can speak and have some impact on anyone who comes in contact with it.”