Before heading off for a long weekend, last Thursday Upper School BSU leaders hosted the 5th annual Poetry Slam as part of the school’s Black History Month celebration. It was a night of sharing and uplifting the work of more than a dozen members of the community—students, faculty, and alumni—who use poetry as a creative outlet. Former SCH teacher Frank Jackson, Class of 2014, returned to school as the headliner for the event and read several poems from his collection, soon to be available in a book. Before the Slam began, BSU vice president Samaya Goodwin explained the ground rules and urged the audience to respond to poets with finger snapping and “yes’s of approval and appreciation. Students were brave and vulnerable as they performed their works to a rapt and encouraging audience.
A member of Players, junior Agharese Olagunju-McWilliams shared a poem about the tension of being a Black girl in the theater. An excerpt of her poem is included here: “I want to be the sun, but not for just anyone, I want the sunshine to reach little black kids who were told they would never look just right in the spotlight, however when their skin shines in the starlight and sunshine, they look even more astonishing than any other artificially produced movie. The movies that shut out people like you and me from the cinematography, all because we glow in the spotlight too beautifully.”
Many thanks to the evening’s organizers: Leslee Frye, Gabby Adams, Samaya Goodwin, Sela Perryman, Zahkiyyah Frazier, Aubrey Carter, and Tatyana Hall!