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A celebrity host and cultural celebration at A Night in Africa

The People of African Descent invites students to celebrate African culture through music and dance along with celebrity host Michael Blackson.Spend ‘a night in Africa’ right here on campus.

The People of African Descent (PAD) are throwing their second annual A Night in Africa event on Saturday April 9.

The show will start in the Main Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. The show will be hosted by celebrity guest Michael Blackson.

Blackson is a Ghanian-American comedian who has appeared in films like “Next Friday” alongside Ice Cube, “Repos” with Katt Williams, and “The Savages.” He has also made guest appearances on shows like “30 Rock” and “Are We There Yet?.”

“We chose him because we wanted to bring an African celebrity that would represent our culture in a positive light,” says Emily Kofi-Fleyn, PAD president.

In addition to Blackson hosting, attendees can expect to see portrayals of African culture in the form of art, dance and more.

But Kofi-Fleyn doesn’t want to give too much away: “students can expect an awesome show I can't really speak about the details its sort of a surprise!”

Immediately after the show, there will be a meet and greet held with celebrity host Michael Blackson.

However, the party doesn’t stop there.

After the meet and greet, the festivities will move to the Woodland Commons for the after party. The doors will open at 9:30 p.m. and guests will be entertained by Boston’s DJ Xplosive.

The after party won’t stop until 2 a.m.

Kofi-Fleyn and the rest of PAD were inspired by last year’s “A Night In Africa” celebration to make this go around bigger and better.

“The event was very sucessful last year and attracted a large diverse crowd here at UMD, that was our main goal because we wanted all cultures there, not just Africans,” said Kofi-Fleyn.

“We wanted to throw the event again this year because it’s our annual show and each year we like to do something a little different.”

`               Some of the proceeds from this year’s event will be going to the Panyijiar Community Development Services or PACODES.

According to its website, PACODES aims to “aid and improve the education, health, humanitarian aid, agriculture, faith, and lifestyle of the people of Panyijiar County in southern Sudan.”

“We wanted to give back to Africa which is an important goal for the show. Giving back makes it worthwhile,” says Kofi-Fleyn.

And while this is PAD’s last big event of the semester, the organization will be working with other groups to throw smaller events for the duration.

Students interested in joining PAD are encouraged to do so to learn about and celebrate the African culture and according to Kofi-Fleyn, “you don’t have to be African to do so.” She sees PAD as a melding of different cultures which sets it apart from other groups on campus.

The second annual “A Night in Africa” will be a celebration of culture and giving back.

“Students should come out to a "Night in Africa" because we don't normally have celebrities on campus and it will be a nice change of pace,” says Kofi-Fleyn.

Tickets for the event will be available at the door on the night of the event. Prices range from $7 for UMass D students, $10 for visitors and $20 to take part in the meet and greet with host Michael Blackson.

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