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Cultural Rhythms Rock the Campus

By Caitlin E. Anderson

The nationally-known comedian and actor Sinbad received the award for Cultural Artist of the Year from the Harvard Foundation for Race and Intercultural Relations on Saturday while his father, Reverend Dr. Donald Atkins, sat in the front row of Sanders Theatre with a camcorder.

"It was all going great until my battery went down," Atkins said.

The awards ceremony was the highlight of Cultural Rhythms, an evening of dance, music and food presented by the cultural groups of Harvard-Radcliffe to a packed Sanders Theatre.

The cultural performances were from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a food festival which lasted until about 7 p.m.

According to Dr. S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation and associate professor of neuroscience, the Foundation chose to honor Sinbad because he demonstrated "the best qualities of our society."

The audience was filled with families and school groups, whose applause testified to his multi-generational appeal.

Sinbad said that he normally doesn't believe in awards.

"If I was offered an Oscar, I wouldn't accept it," he said. "As I see it, it's just work--we do what we do. It means a lot to me that this award is for a humanitarian effort."

Sinbad also praised the afternoon's performances.

"The talent here is incredible, and it's incredible to see all of these cultures together at once," he said.

"This event should be at [pre-frosh] orientation, to show new students what there is at Harvard," Sinbad said.

Counter said he was pleased with the way Sinbad hosted the performances.

"I think Sinbad is one of the greatest hosts we've ever had," he said. "I think he brought even more talent out of the students."

Rita J. Maxwell '98, the stage manager for the cultural performances, said she was pleased with the event.

"It all went really smoothly," she said. "Sinbad was great, it was all a lot of fun."

Sulafa I. Bashir '99, a member of the Society of Arab Students, also said that time was an issue.

"It was difficult trying to fit four performances into five minutes," she said. "We were very pleased to get to perform, though."

Most students and performers said they were impressed with Sinbad and the performances.

Carolyn Nguyen '99 said she enjoyed the event.

"I thought what he had to say was really great," she said. "It was exciting meeting Sinbad and sitting next to him."

Lamelle D. Rawlins '99, president of the Undergraduate Council, said she was impressed with the performances and food fest.

"It's an event that really shows that it is a community at Harvard that can come together," she said. "I'd like to see us do this more often."

A group of student activists distributed green armbands to performers and members of the audience in support of the creation of a multicultural student center and more ethnic studies departments, said Ravi K. Dixit '00.

Sinbad waved a green armband on stage after the Kuumba Singers performed.

"I have the green ribbon," he said, then urged students to "fight, but know what you're fighting for."

"You've got to find a medium ground," he said. "You know what you want, and the university know what they want, and the answer's somewhere in the middle."

The activists said they were not entirely happy with Sinbad's response to the armbands.

The activists said that they were satisfied with Saturday's program, but that it was not enough to promote race and intercultural relations.

A sustained commitment is necessary, they said

"I think Sinbad is one of the greatest hosts we've ever had," he said. "I think he brought even more talent out of the students."

Rita J. Maxwell '98, the stage manager for the cultural performances, said she was pleased with the event.

"It all went really smoothly," she said. "Sinbad was great, it was all a lot of fun."

Sulafa I. Bashir '99, a member of the Society of Arab Students, also said that time was an issue.

"It was difficult trying to fit four performances into five minutes," she said. "We were very pleased to get to perform, though."

Most students and performers said they were impressed with Sinbad and the performances.

Carolyn Nguyen '99 said she enjoyed the event.

"I thought what he had to say was really great," she said. "It was exciting meeting Sinbad and sitting next to him."

Lamelle D. Rawlins '99, president of the Undergraduate Council, said she was impressed with the performances and food fest.

"It's an event that really shows that it is a community at Harvard that can come together," she said. "I'd like to see us do this more often."

A group of student activists distributed green armbands to performers and members of the audience in support of the creation of a multicultural student center and more ethnic studies departments, said Ravi K. Dixit '00.

Sinbad waved a green armband on stage after the Kuumba Singers performed.

"I have the green ribbon," he said, then urged students to "fight, but know what you're fighting for."

"You've got to find a medium ground," he said. "You know what you want, and the university know what they want, and the answer's somewhere in the middle."

The activists said they were not entirely happy with Sinbad's response to the armbands.

The activists said that they were satisfied with Saturday's program, but that it was not enough to promote race and intercultural relations.

A sustained commitment is necessary, they said

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