Black Student Union’s Stunning Take to Stage


Entering the auditorium, the energy was electric from the audience and the performers alike. For the last nine years, Ms. Taylor has been dedicated to curating the specific experience Enloe Black Student Union’s (BSU) Black History Month Showcase has come to be. Centered on the setting of the National Museum of African American History, the production was able to introduce various aspects of black history and identity. It goes on to explore the figures and roots of black beauty, education, civil rights, gospel, the US military, and more.

Each song elevated the performance whether it was sung or played. The drastic changes in volume often matched the movement of dancers on stage. The choir’s reemerging presence throughout solidified the importance of gospel to black culture. Though, their pieces were not without a spotlight. “At Last” by Etta James was met with wonderfully controlled runs and improvisations by Jessica Moses. Olivia Stallworth’s recitation of “Little Rock 9” by Carlotta Walls LaNier was striking and was only improved by the silent support of BSU members joining the stage. Eric Keel brought an individuality to his character of Tyrique through his choreography, especially during their tribute to Michael Jackson. 

Historic roots were well-established using Tyrique’s introduction to different figures featured like Madame CJ Walker, the Tuskegee Airmen, and Ghanaian warriors. Madame CJ Walker, played by Ava Wharton, explained the importance of black hair. She detailed how she built her beauty empire providing hair care products to her community. As Tyrique further inquired from exhibit to exhibit, he met the Tuskegee Airmen. There, he learned the story of the first black aviators in the US military and their contribution in support of the Allies during WWII. He went on to meet Ghanaian warriors to learn of West African traditions and its ties to contemporary black culture. BSU effectively shows the audience just how intertwined heritage and history are.

Every dance combination was carefully crafted and synchronized. During the Civil Rights scene, the step routine communicated a message of unity in opposition to injustice. It also managed to show their individual talents, integrating syncopated solos. Drawing from ancestral roots, an exhibit introduces Tyrique to the beauty of traditional Ghanaian dance. The dancers showed out with stoic but swift performances in skirts of mesmerizing patterns. The finale was compelling, real, and powerful. A singular silhouetted person struggling to break free from centuries of oppression, falling and getting up, to “Be Free” by J. Cole.

Ms. Taylor’s direction and support produced yet another astonishing exhibition. With her help, Black Student Union delivered a performance that investigated the adversity of black history while celebrating black joy and triumph. This year’s showcase was a magnificent display of culture, ancestry, and community.