cultural rhythms

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The title of this blog post was supposed to be a play on the movie “Love & Basketball.” Get it? Maybe it’s a bad comparison. I actually don’t even know if it’s a good comparison because I’ve never seen the movie, but I always feel like my posts are better if they have catchy titles. I’m terrible at thinking of them, so I’m open to your suggestions if you have any!

Friday evening, the Varsity Men’s Basketball team played Princeton during a sold out game. We got free shirts as we walked in, and Lavietes Pavilion was packed! My friends and I all squeezed in with everyone else and were on the edge of our seats the whole time. Next to volleyball (I’m a bit biased…), basketball is my second favorite sport to watch. The Boston Celtics will always have the number 1 spot in my heart as far as the NBA goes, but if we separate by league, The Crimson is, of course, my top NCAA team. One of the starting forwards on the basketball team, Kyle Casey, is a friend of mine who lived on the first floor of my dorm building freshman year. It’s the coolest thing to watch your classmates do incredible things outside of the classroom, especially athletically since sports are a big part of my life. I’m looking forward to March Madness!

At the basketball game vs. Princeton!

Harvard 67, Princeton 64!

I know Kemie already wrote about it, but here’s my take on the same event! Each year, about 30 student groups come together and perform during Cultural Rhythms, which is The Harvard Foundation‘s event that celebrates diversity on campus. In addition, The Harvard Foundation chooses a distinguished artist for his or her achievements and commitment to diversity, and often times, his or her humanitarian efforts. This weekend, John Legend was on campus to receive his award, being honored as the 2012 Artist of the Year, who also has the responsibility of hosting the Cultural Rhythms show. I didn’t know too much about John Legend, but my blockmate (one of the 7 people I chose to “block” with after freshman year so we ended up being placed in the same dorm building) Katherine is a member of the Immediate Gratification Players (IGP), a long-form improvisational comedy troupe, who get to do an annual roast of the Artist of the Year. I sat next to her as she wrote it, and while I missed the actual roast since I was asleep (it was at noon…oops!), it was hysterical.


I actually still don’t know a lot about John Legend, but after watching him host Cultural Rhythms, I decided I would support him because he seems like a very laid back, humble guy. Download “Green Light” or “Ordinary People”! Two (of many) great songs! He was pretty witty throughout the afternoon, and his acceptance speech after receiving the award was incredibly sincere. I recorded it because I wanted to show you all. Check it out below.



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This time last week, my proverbial plate was pretty full, but the storm has passed.  This week I turned in two mid-term papers (hooray!), and I have life left in me yet.  I will admit that I had to sleep in this morning in order to recover, but in the afternoon I walked from the Quad to Sanders Theatre in order to enjoy the 27th Annual Cultural Rhythms performance.

Like I mentioned the other week, I missed out on the show my freshman year, so I feel like I had two years of anticipation stored up.  I had heard rave reviews from my friends that went to the performance last year, but I have to say that Culture Rhythms still managed to exceed my expectations.

First of all, John Legend was honored as the Harvard Foundation’s Artist of the Year, and he did not disappoint.  He was a cool, confident, and charming host for the afternoon.  He even humored the audience by singing a few lines from his hit single, “Ordinary People”.  Before the show I was already a pretty dedicated fan so I was swooning like a schoolgirl the entire time.  My friends sitting next to me couldn’t help but laugh at my enthusiasm.  Apparently I left my pride outside of the theater this afternoon.

Mariachi Veritas performing in Sanders Theatre

Mariachi Veritas performing in Sanders Theatre

Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan

Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan

Corcairdhearg (Irish dancers)

Corcairdhearg (Irish dancers)


Cultural Rhythms is basically a showcase of a selection of cultural performance groups on campus.  The groups featured included Mariachi Veritas, the Harvard Breakers (a breakdancing/popping/locking dance crew), and the Kuumba Singers.  I have to say that my favorite part of the afternoon was probably the grand finale.  The final performance featured one or two representatives from each of the different groups that performed in Cultural Rhythms.  They all came together in one dance, and they incorporated choreography from each of the earlier performances.  Also, to top it all off they were performing to John Legend’s “Green Light”, as he looked on from his seat on stage.  I can’t think of a better way for them to have concluded the show.  You could tell that they put a lot of thought into the organization of the show, and I really appreciated the attention to detail.

All in all, it was an incredible afternoon.  Right now I am in the best mood imaginable because Cultural Rhythms is symbolic of what I love about being a student here.  Diversity is, without a doubt, the feature of my college experience that I value the most.  I love the excitement of being constantly exposed to the unfamiliar.  Moreover, diversity here at Harvard goes beyond race and ethnicity.  The student body is composed of individuals that represent various academic interests, and people that have distinct talents that set them apart for everyone else.  I genuinely feel like every student here has something different, something unique, to offer the undergraduate community.

Keeping that in mind, I am going to bask in the brilliance of a fantastic afternoon, and listen to some John Legend on my iTunes.  Happy Saturday!

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The tickets for the Harvard Foundation’s Cultural Rhythms went on sale this Thursday!  I am happy to report that I got in line as soon as I got out of class in the afternoon, so I am now the proud owner of two tickets to the show!

The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations is devoted to encouraging diversity on campus by sponsoring activities and events that promote cultural awareness.  Although I am not personally involved in the group, I have a few friends on-campus that work as interns for the Foundation.  Culture Rhythms is the Harvard Foundation’s biggest production of the year, and each year the Foundation selects a distinguished performing artist that represents the Foundation’s mission statement, and honor them with the title of Artist of the Year.

There are a bunch of different components to the Cultural Rhythms Festival, including an ethnic-cuisine tasting and a small luncheon in Kirkland House with the Artist of the Year, but the main production is the afternoon performance in Sanders Theatre.

Luncheon in Kirkland

Last year's luncheon in the Kirkland House dining hall.

The show features performances by a wide array of cultural groups on campus, so there will be singing, dancing, and just about anything entertaining.  Moreover, the show is co-emceed by a Harvard Foundation Intern and the Artist of the Year!  To be clear, Cultural Rhythms is exciting in and of itself, but the Foundation has done a great job of attracting well-known and influential Artists of the Year while I have been here at Harvard.  Last year, Shakira was honored with the title…and this year the Artist of the Year is John Legend!

This year's poster for Cultural Rhythms.

This year's poster for Cultural Rhythms, featuring John Legend.

This will actually be the first Cultural Rhythms show of my undergraduate experience.  Last year I went to the luncheon in Kirkland with Shakira, but I didn’t make it to the actual performance.  I was having one of those days and I was too tired to do anything but sleep, so I gave my ticket away to a friend.  At the time I was dealing with my first wave of midterms, and school and health come first!  It was, admittedly, a bitter pill to swallow, but this is my year to redeem myself.  In 2012 I will not opt out of Cultural Rhythms to take a nap… I hope.

Shakira at Cultural Rhythms

Shakira receiving a special gift from the interns of the Harvard Foundation. This was taken at last year's luncheon.

That’s about it!  The show will be at the end of the month, so I’ll be sure to give you all a full report.  Happy Weekend!

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