Students from all three divisions, faculty, staff and parents perform at Monday Morning Meeting.
On Monday, Feb. 24, students, parents, faculty and staff at the Elementary School were transported to the streets of Harlem for a celebration of Black History Month. To the sounds of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Happening Brother”—performed by a band of Crossroads community members, led by Crossroads parent Jerry “Wyzard” Seay and featuring sophomore Bella Williams on vocals—students cartwheeled across the Community Room, mimed jump rope and pick-up baseball games and kicked off a spirited showcase of theater, comedy and song.
After the opening number, the performance, written and directed by Crossroads parent Eric Cazenave, began with a cameo by Physical Education Teacher Kevin “KK” Jackson ’82. “It’s impossible to capture all of black history and black culture into one Monday Morning Meeting,” KK admitted. “Every day should be Black History Day. Every year should be Black History Year!”
What followed was, as KK qualified, “a little taste of black history.” The story revolved around an Elementary School student named Lucy, played by fifth grader Arabelle Hayes, who recently moved to Harlem. Other children, street performers and Lucy’s mom—played by Arabelle’s own mom, Robinne Lee—then taught Lucy about jazz and the blues, the Harlem Renaissance and segregation, the history of slavery, black heroes, allies and more. The entire cast dancing to the band’s rendition of James Brown’s “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” encapsulated the exuberance of the show.
“The performance was important, for the younger kids, to learn about black history and Black History Month,” reflects Arabelle. “And, for the older kids even, because I learned about Sugar Hill and the Cotton Club, and I think it was important for them to learn about it too.”
After the show, many of the young actors couldn’t wait for next year’s Black History Month production. “My oldest son, Stryke, came home beaming that black comes in all shades, that he felt comfortable in his skin and proud to be black,” says Crossroads parent Alyson Winston. “For this, I can’t thank the team enough.”