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American artist wants Liberias rich culture preserved

By Jonathan Grigsby
The American-African Dancer, Zicyk Baggett
The American-African Dancer, Zicyk Baggett

(mylbsonline.com/Liberia)-An American-African Dancer, Zicyk Baggett, is currently attending classes with members of the Liberia Culture Ambassadors.

Mrs. Baggett is attending the culture classes to have more insights in the country’s culture heritage, mainly folk songs and traditional dance styles.

She works with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES– Liberia).

According to the American–African dancer, she has been with the Culture Ambassadors for nearly six months now.

Mrs. Baggett said: “I am definitely getting along with the dancing aspect. I can see the way the others can twist and move their bodies and their feet, but singing the folk songs is my weakness, because the songs are sung in different vernaculars.”

She was spotted at the historical Providence Island in Monrovia while performing, along with members of the Liberia Culture Ambassadors, at the Peace and Reconciliation Culture Jamboree, organized by the Liberia National Culture Union.

The American-African dancer described Africa’s culture as ancient, distinct, deep and very rich that westerners can learn a whole lot from.

She noted: “Western culture, especially American culture, is mixed. The African culture teaches the way of life and puts people on the right path for a better tomorrow.”

The dancer wants Liberians, mainly culture dancers and artists, respect and add value to their culture, because she said: “Your country’s culture style is better than those of other West African countries, though there are some similarities.”

“The African culture dance is purely participatory. The dancers sing and dance, and conversation between the dancers and drummers usually takes place similar to that of classical music performance,” she noted.

Mrs. Baggett told Liberians: “Do not allow your culture be forgetting as it is only you who can add value to your culture heritage amongst the world community.”

“Preserve your culture to be emulated by future generations for the betterment of Liberia and its people”.

“Studies have revealed that there are huge western interests, mainly Japan’s, for West African culture dance and artistry so, Liberians should do all they can to expose their culture to the rest of the global community, Mrs Baggett further noted.

The American-African dancer, who hails from Burlington, Vermont United States of America, said: “I am of the conviction that I will achieve my dream to becoming one of the best American–African culture dancers.”

The American–African female culture lover then called on the Liberian Government to ensure that the country’s culture heritage is prioritized and more attention given the Providence Island, because she added: “It is an amazing and beautiful place for performance that cannot be found in other countries.”  

Before taking up assignment in Liberia, Mrs. Baggett has been learning African tradition and dances for eighteen years in Mali, Guinea and Senegal, where she attended classes that enable her master the Mandingo dance style.

For seventeen years, she danced for a culture group, comprising American and Guinean Dancers, in America, where she taught African culture heritage in various educational institutions and communities.

Following her arrival in Liberia, Mrs. Baggett visited Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

She loves delicious Liberian dishes such as palm butter, pumpkins soup and pepper-soup, and fond of wearing varieties of African dresses.


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