A tribute to african artistry

African Student Organization celebrates black culture


photo credit: Lydia Alemayehu

Seizing the moment \\ Belting out her finest soprano notes, junior Ellyse Joseph sings “Les Berceaux” for the Black is Beautiful showcase Feb. 19. “I chose to sing Les Berceaux because I had a day to prepare something, and the track was free since a cappella choir is already learning it for UIL,” Joseph said.

writer: Gloria Olajimi, Editor-in-Chief

This past Sunday under the luminous auditorium lights, students from here and across town showcased the essence of black beauty. The African Student Organization (ASO) partnered with the Wylie High African Student Organization to hold the Black is Beautiful showcase Feb. 19. 

The showcase has been my favorite way of celebrating black history month,” President Lydia Alemayehu said. 

The showcase featured students performing various acts to demonstrate the vast elements of black culture. 

We had singing, dancing, poems and an art gallery,” Alemayehu said. “The Wylie East Step Team also performed at the showcase.”

The showcase has been my favorite way of celebrating black history month.

— Lydia Alemayehu, president

The event concluded with an art gallery featuring works from black students from the district and a fashion show featuring various looks from across Africa. 

“The fashion show was so fun,” model Ellyse Joseph said. “Everyone looked amazing.”

Of all the performances, however, there was one performer who stood out to President Alemayehu. 

I genuinely loved all the acts, but Ellyse Joseph’s singing was so breathtaking,” Alemayehu said. 

The night before the event, the junior didn’t know she would spend her Sunday afternoon performing for a crowd. 

“A friend of mine texted me a day before the performance and asked if I could sing for them,” Joseph said. “It’s kind of funny actually, I didn’t plan to sing at all.” 

This jack-of-all-trades performed three acts- singing, reciting poetry and sashaying across the runway. In her show-stopping singing performance, she sang Les Berceaux. 

“I’ve been singing for crowds since I was one, so I wasn’t nervous about that part,” Joseph said. “But there was something so special about the all-black audience. I felt like we were celebrating together, it was wonderful.”

Joseph then recited an excerpt from the story “One Crazy Summer” by award-winning author, Rita Williams-Garcia. The book follows three black girls as they spend the summer at a camp sponsored by the Black Panthers. 

“The book has stuck with me throughout my life,” Joseph said. “To be honest, I think I’d be a different person if I’d never read it.”

Among her three acts, Joseph particularly favored participating in the fashion show. 

“I love looking pretty and talking to pretty people, so I was having the time of my life,” Joseph said. 

As Black History Month comes to a close, students treasure the opportunity to express their cultural identity. 

“Seeing the many different cultural outfits in the fashion show as well as the different talents of peers and students from both high schools was amazing,” Alemayehu said. “I would love for this to be an annual event after I graduate.”