After Shock concert celebrates culture, music, fun at Rutgers Student Center
On Friday, Jan. 20, four organizations operating under the Paul Robeson Cultural Center transformed the Rutgers Student Center into a nightclub with music celebrating the community of black students on the Banks.
Black Student Union (BSU), West Indian Student Organization (WISO), The Organization for African Students and Friends of Africa (TWESE) and Haitian Association at Rutgers University's (HARU) After Shock party encouraged students to commemorate their heritages and the end of syllabus week.
After Shock was announced on the organizations’ social media during winter break as the sequel to the annual Culture Shock party hosted by the same four organizations. The last installment held on Nov. 12, 2016, followed the tradition of being a lively event where colorful flags and dancing are in abundance, prompting students of all backgrounds to celebrate their heritages and to have a good time.
“After Shock and Culture Shock are unique because (they both) celebrate all cultures,” said Kahina Jean-Baptiste, Rutgers Business School sophomore and BSU treasurer. “African to Haitian to African-American — (After Shock) really accommodates for the entire black population here.”
Both parties were open only to Rutgers students from all campuses: New Brunswick, Newark and Camden, said Tia Rivera, School of Arts and Sciences senior and BSU spokesperson.
While Culture Shock is no stranger to students, After Shock’s debut this past weekend may usher in a new tradition of having a second party, thanks to WISO’s Kelsie Thorne, who suggested the idea and name, Rivera said.
The first party of the semester sold more than 300 tickets, similar to Culture Shock. With the most stressful days of the semester ahead of them, students from all three Rutgers campuses aimed to have a good time while there was still time.
"Unfortunately, I did not attend Culture Shock because I was not on campus that weekend. However, I only heard great things about it. I was actually pretty mad that I missed it,” said School of Arts and Sciences senior Micah Bowden. “The music was great and the atmosphere (was) perfect. You could tell everybody was having a good time. This is my senior year, and this will probably be the last student center party I attend, so I'm really glad I went and had this experience one last time.”
Bowden was not the only attendee with this sentiment. While seniors wanted to make the most of the night, others found their way to After Shock because of Culture Shock’s reputation, Jean-Baptiste said.
“Because Culture Shock was so successful more people came out to After Shock and knew what to expect so they let loose,” Jean-Baptiste said.
And “letting loose” at After Shock was extremely easy for partygoers.
Student center parties differ from traditional undergraduate parties because they are sponsored by Rutgers University Student Association (RUSA) and have tighter regulations, such as security, guest limitations and other logistics. But with a guaranteed venue and no required male-to-female student ratio, students opt to pay $8 to $10 for a ticket if it means having a good time.
Even though the event was only open to Rutgers students, there was still a high, nearly palpable energy as early as 11 p.m., an early stage of the party. The multipurpose room had only reached about one-third capacity at this point, but the noise and excitement reverberated around the room. By the time the party was in full swing, Jola Babalola, a School of Arts and Sciences junior also known as DJ Flygerian, made sure there was never a dull moment. He played lively and diverse music that celebrated the multitude of cultures within Rutgers’s black community.
The next event on the horizon is BSU’s Opening Ceremony, a formal, free event on Jan. 29 from 7:30 to 11 p.m., including dinner, performances and keynote speakers Kelly Outing and Keywaun Caulk.
“We're just trying to have a semester filled with good vibes (and) bring fun and unifying events for the people,” Rivera said.