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Show takes 'Pulse' of African influences

"Pulse: Waves From the Motherland," a show that celebrates Africa and African-American culture, will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

Now in its second year, the show highlights black history and its influence on today's culture through music, poetry and dance. It is a collaborative effort between the Advocates for Awareness, the MIT African Students' Association, the MIT Black Students' Union, the MIT Caribbean Club and the MIT chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Last year, sophomore Alia Whitney-Johnson worked with a planning committee of eight MIT and two Harvard students to organize the first show, which was called, "Pulse: One Beat. One World."

The desire to bring "Pulse" to MIT was born during an African cultural show Whitney-Johnson attended at her former high school in North Carolina, she told the MIT News Office last year. "I was one member of a whole audience who left with a new appreciation for how much of our culture is rooted in Africa," she said. "I saw that studying black history is studying my history."

This year's show is "a demonstration of the extent to which Africa has influenced art of all kinds and, with this influence, molded culture all over the world," said Whitney-Johnson.

The show's acts are divided according to region and will feature a variety of expressive arts designed to foster a sense of unity, she said.

"We hope to leave audience members with a sense of how black history is his/her own history regardless of his/her own ethnic background," Whitney-Johnson said. "We hope the collaboration of many different groups in the show's production will facilitate the development of unexplored relationships and foster a greater sense of unity across the MIT campus."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 15, 2006 (download PDF).

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