Students celebrate Black History Month: Black Americans Making Moves (B.A.M.M.) showcase


West African Club performs a traditional dance. (Photo courtesy of Sophia Awuzie)

By Ruby Manesis and Marian Keilman

Students danced on the Lane Tech Stage on Feb. 28, showcasing traditional West African dance moves while the auditorium erupted in cheers and encouragement. 

At the end of Black History Month, the stage felt the presence of the Black Americans Making Moves Showcase (B.A.M.M.). The presentation on Feb. 28 included performances from the Black Student Association (BSA), The Star That You Are Club, Lane Tech’s Band, the Lane Tech Champerettes and various individual students. These performances included songs, poetry, educational presentations and dances. 

Sophia Awuzie is a senior who played a significant role in coordinating the event. As a junior, she created The Star That You Are Club, a production club focused on putting on various artistic performances. For B.A.M.M, she created an original play titled, “The Star That You Are,” along with her club.

“I practically just made the play from scratch based on ideas that I had, and through my club, we were able to bring it to life,”  Awuzie said. 

Awuzie coordinated a multitude of student groups together to create one cohesive performance.

“I posted a couple of times in a newspaper and that did very little, but it did do something,” Awuzie said. “And then other than that, I just reached out to other clubs that had more Black students. Like BSA, I went to a lot of their meetings and recruited people, same thing for the West African Club.”

The play traced the history of the Black experience in America, with demonstrations of students experiencing racism, brutality, success and struggle on stage. The play contained dramatic theatrical performances with a musical number to accompany it. While students acted on stage, Awuzie sang “I’m Tired,” by Labyrinth and Zendaya. 

This is Awuzie’s second year putting this play together. Both years she did it with her club, The Star That You Are Club. 

This being her last year at Lane Tech, Awuzie mentioned her hopes for the showcase in the future, when she will not be there to manage and direct it. 

“I’ve always hoped for the assembly to be a school-sanctioned event,” Awuzie said. “I think that people would benefit a lot and learn a lot from being able to see it without having to take extra time out of their day, basically saying that Black history is important enough to be viewed throughout the school day to take time out of the school day.” 

The event began with a rendition of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Next, the band played “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, followed by a drumming performance done by the Hip Hop And World Drumming class.

Next, Awuzie’s play was performed, “The Star That You Are.” The play ended with all actors standing in formation, with three students holding signs reading “Enough Is Enough.”

The event featured creative and artistic performances from many students. Many of these performances depicted the immeasurable contribution Black artists have had on American pop culture. 

Next, West African Club performed a dance, which was lively and showcased traditional West African dance moves. 

The Start That You Are Club performed again, this time showcasing another dance. 

Jennifer Opazce performed “Lift Me Up,” by Rihanna, while the audience waved their phone flashlights throughout the auditorium. 

Malia McDaniel presented a video composed of different clips of black women in society. 

Takiya Williams performed an original dance to “Woman,” by Doja Cat. From a choreographic perspective, her hip-hop dance style complemented the song’s rhythm.

Mayala Ganett performed a poem titled “Black Body,” centering on her experience as a Black American. 

Glee Club sang a medley of songs, and the Lane Tech Flag Team performed an Afro Latino Tribute. The flag team swung and stepped to songs by multiple popular Afro-Latino artists. 

Taya Brown presented on the topic of the hyper-sexualization and adultification of Black women, with her slideshow titled “Black Women and the World.” 

Brown included pictures, statistics and anecdotes to describe the ways that Black Women are viewed and treated as older than they are, starting from a very young age. This results in physical and sexual violence, discrimination, at an extremely disproportionate rate than their white counterparts. 

The Lane Tech Step Team, or Sigma Sigma Eta, performed, skillfully creating melodies and rhythm with the power of their feet, hands and mouths.

Kaytlend Garrett performed her song “We Need More.” 

Lastly, the Lane Tech Champerettes performed. The Champerettes brought an energy-filled finish to the event.

The event brought out a large and participatory crowd, who clapped and cheered for the entire duration of the performance. 

“I felt like the crowd really enjoyed it, the clapping during songs and people waving their flashlights,” senior Andres Guillen said.

Senior Rosalba Gomez believes in the importance of an abundance of representation for students of color at Lane Tech. 

“I feel like it’s a great thing since we need more representation in every aspect for minority groups, and the fact that this was created and so many people performed and attended is just amazing,” Gomez said. 

The event’s timing created an impactful end to Black History Month for Guillen. 

“I would say it’s very significant that nearing the end of February culminates Black History Month and just brings it to one big celebration,” Guillen said.