King’s College London African Caribbean Society showcased a unique mix of vibrant and fascinating routines, with an incredible number of performers, their impassioned and energised attitudes were infectious and made it a spectacle not to be missed. The production created a cultural space which made African and Caribbean culture accessible. ‘Culture Shock’ easily merged the western with traditional African and Caribbean cultures, thus embodying the immigrant identity which many may have had problems confronting with in the past.
Perhaps the highlight of their show would be the dancing; limb defying and swift, the dancers performed with an intense ardour, for which their culture is often praised. This was exhibited in different styles, from the graceful traditional dances to depict the diligent African women who historically travelled many miles to collect water, to their sassy and fierce homage of Beyoncé’s formation. The great detail of their rendition was remarkable, the perfectly synchronised movement of so many dancers moving to Beyoncé was astounding and the flashing and vivid lighting and the audience’s deafening cheer also made it an intense experience.
Equally intense were the spoken word performances. As something important to African and Caribbean oral tradition, the society took this opportunity to voice their personal views on the injustice against them, more specifically the shootings involving their race. A heart-wrenching performance was dedicated to the people discriminatingly shot in America and the audience could really feel the intense grief and anguish in the speaker’s voice as he reeled the undeniable facts and figures in these shootings.
The performers’ costumes were very striking, for many parts they dressed in traditional African and Caribbean attire; the exquisite patterns and bold colours made for a dazzling sight. Though what was most impressive were the costumes at the carnival they enacted, with glittering and elaborate headpieces, their costumes evoked the flora and fauna of their natural environment, like that bright colours of African flowers or the black and brown colours of a gazelle.
KCL ACS used the ingenious metaphor of taking us onboard as they presented a journey which enabled us to assimilate into authentic African and Caribbean culture as well as a journey of self-discovery for the protagonist of the play they performed. The protagonist’s journey expressed the conflict of African ethnic identity which may sometimes cause Africans and Caribbean to feel displaced or lost. Culture shock illustrated the necessary reconciliation of one’s ethnicity with their present identity in migrated land and the ability to accept yourself as an individual. KCL ACS seamlessly interweaved cultural spectacles and their multitude of talents into this journey of Africa and self-discovery.