Faces of Africa

As'é Expressions, a dance troupe, performs at the beginning of the Kent African Students Association-sponsored Faces of Africa pageant in the Kiva Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.

For the last 50 years, Kent’s African Student Association (KASA) has brought culture, inclusivity and wholesome fun to the African students of Kent State.  

In the KIVA on Friday, Oct. 18, KASA showcased their 5th annual Face of Africa pageant. 

According to event coordinator for KASA and senior exercise science major Ndidiamaka Ukaobasi, the Face of Africa pageant is a necessary event at Kent State. 

“It's important for us as KASA to share information about Africa,” Ukaobasi said. “A lot of people have stereotypes of Africa and Africans so we try to diminish that with this pageant and show the African culture in a beautiful way.”

The event started with contestants entering the stage in red, yellow and green T-shirts. The pageant consisted of 10 contestants, five women and five men, each representing a country in Africa. 

Three judges had the final say in who took home the title of the Face of Africa; Gregory King, an assistant professor in the theatre department, Stephanie Jones, a staff member in the department of general counsel and a third unnamed judge.

The show started with an African contemporary dance by Kent State’s female dance troupe Ase Expressions. 

Afterwards, contestants created their own African-themed creative wear, made of tissue paper, balloons and other materials to show off their innovation and imagination.

Next, was the talent round. The KIVA was filled with singing, dancing, poetry, original raps and skits as the contestants showed off their talents. 

Once the talent portion was over, Kent State’s Barefeet Dance Tribe took the stage with an Afrobeats dance routine that riled up the audience. 

The last round of the pageant was the question portion. Each contestant was asked one question with varying topics like the biggest problem between Africans and African Americans, the biggest problem within the younger African American generation and who their role model is and why. 

After all questions were answered, the judges deliberated the next Face of Africa.

The 2019 female Face of Africa was freshman fashion merchandising major Yaa Boachie. She represented the African country of Côte d’Ivoire. Dressed in a floor length formal orange, yellow and green African dress, Boachie was overwhelmed by her victory. 

“I wanted to be a part of the pageant because I thought it was a good idea to showcase African culture and be around people who are interested in African culture,” she said. “It was such a great time. I made a whole bunch of friends and I broke out of my shell. I did something I’m not always comfortable with and I’m so glad I had this opportunity because it was an amazing experience.”

The winner of the male Face of Africa was senior Pan-African studies major CJ Owensby, who was representing Egypt. 

“I feel amazing,” he said. “It’s definitely a blessing that KASA puts this on and that they gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself and my culture and to display my gifts that God gave me.” 

KASA has several upcoming events for the 2019-2020 school year. To stay connected with everything KASA, follow them @kasa1969 on Instagram and @kentASA1969 on Twitter.

Contact Kennedi Combs at kcombs3@kent.edu.

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