On the night of February 12, a line filled with eager students and guests snaked out of the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center as the sound of chatter and delicious aromas spilled onto the streets. Everyone patiently lined up, eager to get a chance to help themselves to the food at the annual Black Heritage Month Soul Food Night.
Inside the center, the hum of cheerful chatter and the sound of uplifting R&B music filled every corner as people inched past one another with plates filled with food. According to Diamond White, a MGCC staff member and one of the event’s organizers, the center anticipated about 100 people or more at this year’s Soul Food Night. Other MGCC staff members helped coordinate the event, including Katilla Osindero, Teresa Castro and Marcela Flores. In total, 15 volunteers were present the night of the event to make sure everyone had a chance to enjoy themselves.
The food featured this year included corn bread, dirty rice, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese with Kool-Aid, water and sweet tea as refreshments. UNC student De Andre Smith was the head cook in charge of coordinating each of these dishes.
“Jasmine Houston told me that they needed assistance last year, since I’ve been cooking professionally since I was 16, so I came up from Denver to volunteer,” Smith said. “Then when I officially transferred here in August they asked me if I wanted to help again since I cooked last year.”
Faculty, students and volunteers made their way around the house with plates filled with food, making themselves comfortable around chairs, desks, couches, and tables scattered throughout all three floors of the center.
“I just heard about it on Snapchat and some of my friends were going so I came over,” said UNC student Ke’nean Johnson.
According to White, an estimated 150 people attended the open house dinner. The Black Heritage Month celebrations will continue this week with Food for the Soul: Chicken and Waffles from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the MGCC.