Palatine High talent show sends Black History Month out in style

Catchy music and the stomps of cultural dances rang through the auditorium during lunch periods at Palatine High School’s second annual Black History Month Talent Show the final day of February.

Black students showed off their heritage through cultural dances and poems, finishing Black History Month with a celebration for the entire Palatine High School community.

The show’s acts ranged from reciting poems to singing in Portuguese to dancing Afro Hip-Hop and step. In one act, claps from the audience accompanied a student’s rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna. One of the larger acts was step dance, which has its roots in West Africa and emphasizes footwork and hand claps.

Freshman Jaylynn Martinez performed a poem about the beauty and diversity of Black hair.

“It just highlighted the different ways that we could wear our hair,” said Martinez. “I loved it.”

The Advancement of Black Leaders organization also devoted a portion of the performance to honoring Black activists and leaders. It included presentations on figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, as well as lesser known yet influential innovators like George Crum, the inventor of potato chips.

Though Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 schools all celebrate Black History Month in unique ways, Palatine is the only one with a talent showcase. Advancement of Black Leaders members hope their work inspires other Black students across the district and beyond to be proud of their achievements.

“I hope other people try to do something like this,” said Karimot Lawal, a junior and dancer in three of the show’s acts.

The talent showcase displayed the complexity and diversity of Black culture, encouraging students to be proud to be themselves and their goals.

“You see so many people with all of these talents,” Martinez said. “It’s a teaser for all the stuff that they’re going to be doing in the future.”

Palatine High School freshman Madison Pruitt takes the stage at the Palatine High School Talent Showcase that wrapped up the school's Black History Month celebration. The event featured many acts reflecting Black culture. Courtesy of Casimir Heinritz, Palatine High School
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