Members of the Black MBA Association at Fisher join for their event, “An Afternoon in Culture.” Credit: Ambar Javier

This past Thursday, the first ever “An Afternoon in Culture” event highlighted African and African-American culture through food, dance, vendors and a fashion show in front of Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business.

The event, hosted by the Black MBA Association, was developed to encourage unity within Fisher and the rest of Ohio State’s campus.

“We want to be able to encourage others to join us in celebrating African and African-American culture,” Mel Kostrick, second-year MBA student and the president of the organization, said.

The two-hour long event involved stepping and dancing performances by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated’s Delta Omicron chapter and Ohio State’s very own Zuvva Afro-Caribbean dancers.

The fashion show featured models in traditional African garb, or clothing, walking out to popular African music. In attendance there were also jewelry, handbag, skin care, and scarf vendors, along with Caribbean and African style cuisines.

Attendees had the option of purchasing a Caribbean-style jerk or curry chicken meal with rice, beans, and plantains, or a West African Meal with chicken, jollof rice, and plantains. Meals were $10 each if pre-ordered and $12 dollars at the event, with all proceeds going to the organization.

“I think it’s important that we share our culture with the campus,” Kostrick said. “I feel like as BMBA students we are kind of separated here at Fisher, and we want to become a well-known organization throughout OSU.”

As a graduating senior, she developed the idea for this event so that she could leave a legacy here at Ohio State and hopes for “An Afternoon in Culture” to become an annual event hosted by the BMBA .

Aziza Allen, a 2nd year MBA student and MC for the event, was excited for its turnout.

“At times there is very few of us so it is really amazing to have a moment to showcase our culture, to invite people in and kind of put down those stereotypes,” she said. “We want to bring people in for unity, really good fun, and to show them in a way what our story is, where we come from, and how we do life.”

Allen has been involved with the organization since she began pursuing her master’s degree at Fisher two years ago and has been grateful for the organization since.

“My favorite part is joining with all of the people and really making a family out of the black community in business here,” Allen said.

The organization holds meetings at least once per month that help members become aware of diversity and inclusion within different capacities of business, as well as creating a family dynamic on their college campus.

Champagne Powell, a second-year MBA student, joined BMBA at around the same time and was instantly taken under their wing.

“They really just took me in and helped me get the resources that I needed to be successful in the community and also as a black woman,” Powell said.