One reporter shares her experience watching SCHS’s annual BSU presentation


Ellen Vu

Senior Jamal Howard impersonates Black artist Tyler, the Creator to perform his hit song “EARFQUAKE.”

On Monday, Feb. 13, I walked into a buzzing, music-filled theater alongside numerous students. The Black Student Union was showcasing a Black History Month Presentation. I was unsure what to expect, other than the rumors of a special celebrity guest in the presentation. 

As I sat in my seat, I took notice of the slides projecting “Happy Black History Month.” The music in the theater died down as junior Ella Petersen walked onto the stage, telling the audience to stand with her as she performed the Black National Anthem. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” filled the room as the meaning behind the song became clear. It represents how Black people rose from a gloomy past and now forever stand while remaining true to their God and Land. 

Following the anthem, seven students walked onto the stage to introduce themselves as the BSU officers and to share an introduction about Black History Month. The curtain closed after the introduction, but when it reopened, the seven students behind it had multiplied to nearly 20. The students were all standing in formation when the front row began chanting, “BSU.” Suddenly, everyone on stage was responding to the chant with a dance, but not just any dance, a step dance. They were all in sync as they clapped their hands and pounded their feet on the stage, the powerful sounds echoing in the theater. The routine lasted for less than one  minute, but the second it came to an end, the entire audience was applauding. 

Afterwards, two students arrived on stage to share the significance behind step dance. They explained how step dancing has been present in African-American folk dances since the slave era. Slave owners prevented Black people from using drums for music, so instead they used their hands and feet to make music. I found it interesting to see how Black people overcame this music barrier and created the art of step dancing in order to express themselves and find a sense of power. 

Once again the curtains closed, but senior Habibah Eldakrouri and junior Kai Johnson remained in front. They shared a poem originally by Elizabeth Taylor, Vincent Snyder and Nia Lewis that explained the teaching of Black History Month from a new perspective. They addressed Black culture, history and racism in clear and powerful words. This poem really opened my eyes to see more than the textbook perspective of Black history. 

After the powerful poem, Petersen walked back on stage to delight the audience with the song “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. Her beautiful voice filled the auditorium as the audience began to clap to the beat. BSU students entered the stage waving flashlights and dancing to the music. It was an enjoyable place to be with the sound of music surrounding me.

After the audience broke out in applause and Petersen exited, three members came out to explain the significance behind the n-word. They shared the history of the term and its derogatory meaning to say to any Black person. I had always just thought of the word as a forbidden word, but now I got an opportunity to fully understand why. 

To wrap up the presentation, the rumors about the celebrity guest came true as BSU welcomed Tyler, The Creator, or an impersonation of him, on stage. Tyler sang his hit “EARFQUAKE” as the crowd cheered along with him. This was my favorite act of the night for its humor and entertaining aspects. It displayed the impact Black artists have in the music industry and how their music connects people of many cultures and backgrounds. 

BSU’s presentation gave me a taste of Black history from another perspective in an engaging manner, and I understood the true value of Black History Month.