Students and members of the Austin community filled Hogg Memorial Auditorium Friday night to see a wide variety of performances by black UT students.
The African-American Cultural Committee hosted “Culture Shock,” an annual showcase of black art and talent. The event’s purpose was to embrace and celebrate the multitude of cultural talent in the black community, allowing organizations and individuals an outlet for expression without the pressure of competition.
The committee is an organization under Campus Events and Entertainment dedicated to raising awareness of black culture.
“It’s important to know who you go to class with,” said Tyeria Evans, committee outreach chair and ecology sophomore. “Being aware of other people’s cultures, their backgrounds and where they come from makes campus more inclusive as a whole.”
The African-American student population at UT is only 3.9 percent, according to the 2015 student profile on the UT website.
Nneka Iheanacho, a biology junior and one of the audience members, said she attended the event last year and wanted to return because of what it means to the community.
“It’s hard to find events on campus that pertain to African-American students because we are such a small community,” Iheanacho said. “Sometimes people can forget that we actually exist here, so I think events like this are great because they allow you to get in touch with humanity.”
Iheanacho said her favorite performance was a rendition of a young girl’s childhood in the middle of the Hutu and Tutsi conflict in Rwanda.
“Being the child of an immigrant, I can sort of relate to a lot of the struggles that [immigrants] go through, especially with skin color,” Iheanacho said. “I feel that [the performance] really shed a light on that strife.”
The event had a variety of artistic expressions including dancing, singing, spoken word and a hip-hop fashion show.
The committee has hosted other events this semester, including a discussion with Sanya Richards-Ross, UT alumna and five-time Olympian.
Business freshman Kirsten Scott, step performer and model with Hip Hop Couture, said she thinks the events the committee puts on are important because they bring awareness to a culture that does not get much attention at UT.
“Black people have a lot of talent that’s overlooked and overshadowed by other people because people tend to ignore black culture as a whole,” Scott said. “If you don’t interact with black people, all you have to know about them are stereotypes.”