The Student News Site of Westerville South

The Scribe

The Student News Site of Westerville South

The Scribe

The Scribe

The Student News Site of Westerville South

The Scribe

The Student News Site of Westerville South

The Scribe

Seniors Sumeya Ali and Idman Warsame smile radiantly as they walk down the auditorium stairs to represent their country, Somalia, in the fashion show.
Westerville South performs annual Black History Month show
Grace Rodstrom, News/Feature Editor • February 28, 2024

Each year, students of all Westerville schools anticipate the biggest student-run show of February: The annual Black History Month Show. With...

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Barack-Obama
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/barack_obama_409128
Barack Obama - First African American president
Charles Amara, Business Manager • February 20, 2024

Barack Obama served as the 44th president of the United States. Some of his accomplishments include becoming the first African American president,...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin
Aretha Franklin - The queen of soul
Anne Keir, Reporter • February 13, 2024

Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee and she died in 2018 at the age of 76. Aretha won 18 Grammys. She had 112 singles...

Westerville South performs annual Black History Month show

Seniors+Sumeya+Ali+and+Idman+Warsame+smile+radiantly+as+they+walk+down+the+auditorium+stairs+to+represent+their+country%2C+Somalia%2C+in+the+fashion+show.
Grace Rodstrom
Seniors Sumeya Ali and Idman Warsame smile radiantly as they walk down the auditorium stairs to represent their country, Somalia, in the fashion show.

Each year, students of all Westerville schools anticipate the biggest student-run show of February: The annual Black History Month Show. With dancing, singing, acting, and compelling poetry, the 2024 BHM show, “Dear Black People” was captivating for all audiences. 

It focused on the overall message of community and unity. The storyline had students “traveling” through different black cultures throughout the show to showcase different dances, songs, and poetry. The show focused on three main characters, who created the underlying storyline;  instead of relying solely on skits. The main characters were played by sophomore Rodav Kalengayi as Aaron, sophomore Najmo Mohamed as Imani, and junior Andrew Smith as Ezekiel. 

The beginning act opened with Kalengayi sitting at a desk as a monologue plays that seems to be at the beginning of a letter. From this first scene, the audience was made aware of Kalengayi’s character starting at a new school and trying to explore his black culture. Along the way, he meets Smith’s character who is a little stubborn but wants to get Kalengayi acquainted with his culture. 

In the seating arrangement of the classroom on stage, Mohamed’s character sat to the left of Smith. One of the main conflicts in the show occurred in the first scene between Mohamed and Smith , who have a hatred for each other that stems from interracial stereotypes and discrimination within the black community. 

Smith’s character is black American, and Mohamed’s is African American. The misunderstanding and argument were about who had the “best” culture, demonstrating cultural injustices in the black community between cultures and showing that despite different backgrounds, everyone belongs to the same community. 

The storyline centered around three main characters, but there were multiple character roles throughout the show. A total of 24 characters played by students were involved in the story, not including the ensemble. Among these characters was Kofi played by Junior Joel Cheruiyot, Maya Angelou played by Senior Nabiha Ilkaqor, and Dieondre played by Junior Success Adjei. 

Cheruiyot’s character, Kofi, was Ezekiel’s (Smith) good friend. Cheruiyot thought his role was very funny as his character was rejected in the scene he played in by Junior Ghenet Hailemichael who played Tracy. “It is what it is,” Cheruioyt said jokingly. Adjei loved showing Kalengayi’s character “what being black [meant] and all the different cultures and dances.”

Behind the scenes, many members of the cast loved how “tight-knit” everyone was and how awesome the experience building up to the show felt. Adjei loved becoming close with the cast because she did not know many people in the beginning. 

Ilkaqor recalled, “The night before our first show, after the rehearsals, the girls from the show got together to get henna done, and we talked about different things that connected us.” Kalengayi stated he loved going to see Short North Stage’s production of “The Color Purple” with the whole cast. “The best thing about BHM is having this community that you never knew was right in front of your face,” he said.  

The show closed on Friday, Feb. 16.  The show ended with all the cast members dressed in shades of blue coming on stage with their cultural group and standing together as a whole. The cast took their final bows, and the curtain closed. 

Senior Abby Sang said, “With the audience’s reaction, the applause filling the room showed a tangible recognition of our hard work, talent, and the courage it took to share aspects of our culture.” 

Twumwaa said heartfeltly, “This show brought me so much love and allowed me to give back that same love to my fellow cast and audience.” 

Just like how the show started, the play ended with a voiceover of Kalengayi finishing his letter saying, “I reveled in the sanctity of our identity. Here again, I’m coming to you with an answer. My truth I hope to never lose; for our identity is one we choose. This is a letter from me and a letter to you. Dear world, I get to choose, and dear black people, you do too. So, black people, I hope you know what being black means to you. Sincerely, BHM 2k24.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Grace Rodstrom, News/Feature Editor
Hi, everyone! My name is Grace Rodstrom, and I’m a sophomore at Westerville South.  I am the Scribe’s News/Feature Editor and hope to pursue broadcast journalism at Ohio University. In my free time, I like to read, listen to music, and watch movies. I also do theater outside of school! I am so excited to be a part of the Scribe as an underclassman and can’t wait to see what's in store for this year!

Comments (0)

All The Scribe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *