By Kristi Bezhani
For their senior capstone project, seniors Ashley Etheredge and Sekai Harris, are coordinating of a Black History Month event at SLA, which was originally scheduled for February and is now tentatively scheduled for March 21st.
The show will be the first official African American History Month event hosted at SLA, after several previous years of students planning events but not quite pulling it off.
The show is the senior capstone project for Etheredge and Harris. They have big plans.
“In this event I wanted to show a lot of different types of artistry by creating a show- showcasing talent and great African American artists,” said Etheredge.
“So you will see dances being performed, listen to some renditions of songs being sung and a collaborative step routine.”
Their planning is being influenced by the fact that last month, artists Whitney Houston, Don Cornelius, and Etta James all passed away.
After their deaths, these famous artists taught fans at SLA exactly how short life can be.
“I had a big appreciation for Whitney Houston’s voice, in my brain she was the best, like i thought her voice was the best in the game,” said both English and Drama Teacher Matthew Kay.
“What I really couldn’t stand was how, with Whitney Huston’s and Etta James’ deaths, people talked about their deaths more because of drugs, and I always thought it was weird that people get appreciated for drugs when they die.. and how if it makes a part of them, like If you do something wrong it will become your legacy,” he said.
“I think someone who can sing is more valuable instead of a singer who had a drug problem because that’s just sad. People that struggle with drugs and are promoted for it, I just think it’s not fair to such artist’s great legacies,” he said with a sigh.
Many students at SLA have also been moved by these deaths.
Sophomore Jordan Hairston was affected greatly by the timing of Whitney Houston’s death.
“I cried when Whitney Houston died, it was the day after my birthday, I was like why?! In honor of her music, I played her songs after everyone sang happy birthday. One of them was I Will Always Love You.”
She also knew Etta James as an artist, which was also heartfelt for her.
“When Etta James died, I screamed and then I downloaded two more songs by her, that I didn’t have. In tribute of three musical legends, I stuttered down the Soul Train line with musical harmonies in my mind.”
Senior Sade Skelton felt more towards her past with the artists.
“When Whitney Houston died, I mean that’s the songs you grew up on, like your mom and grandmother listen to her and it becomes a part of you. So it was sad when she died.”
For the organizers of the African American History Month show, the recent deaths mean a change in their program. They plan on a finale to honor the lives of the artists that lost their lives prior to February.
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