Kierra Leggett | Editor-in-Chief
Japanese American artist Yuko Taylor received a warm welcome at this year’s Harambee celebration, where a reception was held in her honor Wednesday, Aug. 22. Taylor, whose artwork will remain on display in the African American Cultural Center Art Gallery until Aug. 31, came to America after meeting and falling in love with her husband, Thomas Taylor in Tokyo, Japan.
Infused with elements of her native land, Taylor’s exhibit, “Majesty Incognito: East Meets West” vividly depicts the struggles of everyday life for enslaved African-Americans.
Fascinated by the “rhythm, soul,” and even the “tone of the muscle, ” of African-American people, Taylor became especially interested in African-American history after the birth of her children, who are biracial.
While finding similarities between African-American culture and Japanese culture could prove to be a stretch for some, this is not the case for Taylor. “To me, the cultures parallel. They both represent dignity and humanity.”
During Harambee, Taylor answered many questions from students and faculty about her artwork, and her husband, along with his band, the Thomas Taylor Trio, entertained the crowd with smooth tunes.
Toni Maynor, a junior majoring in social work attended Harambee for the first time this year, and it will not soon be an experience she forgets, “ Harambee was very informative and introduced me to all the organizations led by the black community,” said Maynor.
As is tradition, N.C. State’s annual Harambee celebration closed with Toni ‘Mama’ Thorpe, leading the crowd in the “Harambee call.” Everyone in the room linked hands while standing in a circle, and shouted “Harambee” seven times. The seventh time, attendees held the ending syllable for as long as possible with their arms extended in the air.