RALEIGH, N.C—Obie and Sharita are the traditional names for an African-American couple who practice Shaolin type martial arts and are owners of Abanitu Organics in Roxboro, N.C. The couple attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 19.
“Spectacular, athletic, and beautiful,” Obie said of Shen Yun’s award-winning performers.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed when a group of classical Chinese artists came together with a mission to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China, after the 5,000 year old culture was nearly decimated by the ruling communist regime, according to the company’s website.
Obie said that he has always been a fan of Chinese culture, but Shen Yun was like breathing life into the real Chinese culture in a spectacular fashion.
The name of the couple’s farm, ‘Abanitu,’ means ‘from the heart of God,’ and is located in northern Person County near Roxboro, North Carolina, according to the farm website. They grow produce organically, and are fifth generation farmers.
Sharita has always felt a connection and awareness to genuine Chinese culture. “I think the culture has always been connected to our culture,” she said. “It was just beautiful to just actually see it alive and thriving.”
After thriving throughout different dynasties and eras over thousands of years, Chinese culture was endangered after the Chinese Communist Party took control of the country, according to Shen Yun’s website. Movements such as the Cultural Revolution and a continued effort to undermine the culture by replacing the essence of the arts—expressions of beauty, benevolence, and many other virtues—with its violent ideology, turning the arts into a strong propaganda tool.
Shen Yun cannot currently travel to China to perform, despite traveling to about 20 countries and more than 200 cities every year.
Sharita said that it was good to see the spiritual foundation of the ancient culture still intact.
Reporting by Thai Ton and Kelly Ni.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will visit Charlotte Jan. 26-27. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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