After two years of missed celebrations due to COVID-19, the University Activities Board’s (UAB) Pan-Afrikan Week is back in business and better than ever. Organized by the Black Students Board (BSB), Pan-Afrikan Week features daily programming from April 4-10.
Alandya Warren, a second-year studying communication and the social media co-executive for BSB, said Pan-Afrikan Week is a chance to celebrate the global diversity of Black culture by creating space for education, recognition and appreciation for all ranges of the Black experience around the world.
“[Pan-Afrikan Week] is the celebration of Black culture all together and the African diaspora,” Warren said. “Not just African American [culture] here in the States, but all across the globe because Black people are everywhere, so it's an accumulation of cultures.”
Throughout the week, all students will have the opportunity to attend a packed schedule of events, beginning with a daily themed happy hour from noon to 1 p.m. in the lobby of Talley Student Union, including giveaways and music. Happy hour topics range from self-expression to Black Around the World, and each corresponds to a spirit week theme: Monday is Rep Your Roots, Tuesday is BLACKout, Wednesday is Rep Your Org, Thursday is Business Attire and Friday is Pan Af Day.
Happy hour will be followed by a daily affinity hour starting at 3 p.m. hosted in partnership with different campus organizations, including the National Pan-Hellenic Council, NC State WellRec and the African American Cultural Center (AACC). These events include Colors of Blackness: A Conversation on Colorism, a flash mob on Harris Field and Music Fo’ Your Soul in Talley.
“Music is a really big theme during the week,” Warren said. “We're gonna have a Spotify playlist that we’ve made, and we’re going to have the QR code, so you can scan it and have the playlist too.”
Daily evening events include a silent headphone party kick-off, complete with a DJ and a wide range of music, the grand opening of the new Folk Nouveau: Myth, Magic, and Resistance art exhibit at the AACC, a Black Out Loud comedy show and the African American Textile Society’s 24th annual Fashion Expose whose 2022 theme is Black Royalty.
The celebration extends into the weekend with the BlackXperience festival on Stafford Commons on Saturday afternoon, with plenty of games and food vendors. The week will close out on Sunday with the Shades of Melanin Brunch which will host speakers and dance performances, ending with a final party celebration.
While 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of Pan-Afrikan Week celebrations at NC State, COVID-19 restrictions pushed the anniversary celebration to this year. Like many events that are in the process of recovering from cancellation or low turnout during the pandemic, Pan-Afrikan Week planning posed a challenge for a board of students who had been unable to participate in the celebration previously.
“We’re starting completely from scratch because of the pandemic,” Warren said. “After not having a panel for almost two years and then coming back, nobody on the board had been part of planning [Pan-Afrikan Week], so creating something new that we're all proud of and that we want the student body to participate in was the goal.”
All students are welcome to attend events throughout the week and should register in advance.
“We just want to create an atmosphere where everyone's excited and hype and glad to be with each other again,” Warren said.