TASTE: The finale to BSA’s Black History Month
February 14, 2017
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The 8th annual Talented African American Students Showcasing Their Excellence event, otherwise known as T.A.S.T.E., will be hosted by BSA Feb. 24 in the Auditorium.
The event consists of performances by a variety of groups that embody the “spirit of what African American culture means,” according to Assistant Principal Mrs. Thompson.
No other platform exists to give African American students at Lane the chance to come together and showcase their excellence like T.A.S.T.E.
Thompson created the event eight years ago to do just that. Looking back, her favorite memories were not the dance groups or vendors, but the moments where students’ eyes shone with pride.
“Seeing how amazed people were by the sheer talent in our building alone was my favorite memory,” Thompson said. “It was probably just the gleam in the students’ eyes when they performed and people were so excited because no other platform had been given to all of these groups to come together as one.”
Groups like Lane’s Steppers chapter, Sigma Sigma Zeta, who have performed at T.A.S.T.E. every year since its inception, promise to “wow the crowd” again this year, according to Steppers President Lauryn Garner, Div. 752.
“I’m gonna try out different formations this year and challenge my team to be more precise and take things to the next level,” Garner said.
Other performers, such as Lane’s Hip Hop Nation, promise to “take things to the next level,” with new self-made choreography, according to President Cynthia Elue, Div. 768. Although, the team has many new members, Elue promises that the performance will deliver the same energy the audience has come to love.
“I think this is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we can,” Elue said. “This just gives us an outlet to express what we need to express.”
Although every group works hard to stand out, Thompson loves the support the groups show one another.
“I think it’s such a supportive environment and just to see the amount of love that comes out of working together, and not thinking, …we dance better or we sing better, shows the unity,” Thompson said.
Mrs. Lawrence is the current sponsor of BSA, but Thompson still participates in T.A.S.T.E. through Gospel choir. Although the song Gospel choir will perform is being kept secret until the day of the performance, Thompson gave a teaser for the song she is strongly considering.
“I just taught them a song that goes back to the 1920s or 30s,” Thompson said. “It’s a new rendition of the song and it’s called ‘I feel your spirit all over me,’ and it has that kind of old school soulful feel to it, and it has a lot of meaning behind it. But it also has this new school kind of beat to it.”
T.A.S.T.E. will be the finale to an event-filled Black History Month celebration by BSA. According to Garner, since all of the officers of BSA are seniors this year, they want to create new traditions and memories to last long after they’re gone.
“This year, BSA is doing a lot more for Black History Month,” Garner said. “We are having something called the Soul Bowl, which is going to be like a basketball tournament where people can sign up, and you pay to participate and pay to watch, and it’s kind of like Rice Bowl. We are having an art gallery [where] we are representing Black Art, and we are trying to have a movie night.”
The Black History Month events, fundraisers and games hosted by BSA, provide a way for the entire Lane community to come together and celebrate black excellence. According to Thompson and Elue, in the Black community achievements often “get overshadowed” by the bad. The celebration of Black excellence is especially important to bring the positive aspect of Black culture to the center.
“I think so many times we highlight all the bad and not enough excellence gets placed on display for others to see and imitate,” Thompson said. “I just believe that students strive to be what they can see, and if they can’t see it, they can’t become it.”