Students sponsoring black heritage expo

February 25, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

To find the kind of stuff Kevin Harried sells -- African incense, oils and jewelry -- shoppers have to stray far from malls and department stores.

For even while Afro-centric products have soared in popularity since the release of the movie "Malcolm X," such items still can be hard to find.

Recognizing this, members of the Black Student Union at Anne Arundel Community College decided to sponsor the school's first black expo, to commemorate Black History Month.

"Celebrate Black Expo '93" opened on Feb. 5 and will re-open for a second day tomorrow.

"Students who are majoring in business had talked about the need for exposing more African American businesses to the larger community," said Carl Snowden, an Annapolis alderman who advises the BSU.

"The assumption is that [Afro-centric products] are limited to a particular market, and nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "While they're Afro-centric in nature, anybody can use them. They're not limited to a particular constituency."

Some 10 to 12 vendors from Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington are expected to display wares and memorabilia such as books, artwork, African cloth scarves, jewelry and even Malcolm X running suits, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the cafeteria. The expo is free and open to the public.

The Black Student Union's executive council wanted to find a way to bring Black American culture to everyone on campus, said Robert Brown, a community college sophomore and president of the union.

"We're hoping to introduce African traditions to blacks and whites and everyone who may or may not know what it's all about," he said.

During the expo's first day, a half-dozen vendors drew several hundred spectators, many of them buying customers.

They sold books on African history, traditional dolls and cloth from Senegal, statues, canes and hair barrettes.

The expo provided the perfect showcase for Enrico Green's Evolving Arts.

The 23-year-old Annapolis artist paints, draws and sculpts pieces with influences from Indian and African cultures. He sold $100 worth of his merchandise during the earlier expo and will be back tomorrow.

So, too, will Mr. Harried, who again will have a booth.

"I made out pretty well," said Mr. Harried, who also runs Kevin's

Vending out of his home.

Mr. Brown said he ended up buying scented oil used as cologne and a necklace with the bust of an African man.

"Even if you don't intend to buy, it's nice to come by and look," he said. "They don't mind explaining what things mean. They're more than willing to talk about it."

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