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Black History Month- BPO Discusses Favorite Black Artists

Black history month is a time to reflect and celebrate the achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Each year since 1976, American Presidents choose a theme for Black History Month. The theme for Black History Month 2024 is “African Americans in the Arts.”

At South St. Paul Secondary, there is an affinity group of student leaders called the Black Pride Organization (BPO). This group of students meets every other week, their mission is to positively address equity issues, racial stereotypes, and biases in our communities by increasing Black visibility in leadership roles, supporting Black students in their education, and providing a space where everyone's voice can be heard.  

While coloring their sheets for the Black History Month Poster they hung in the Secondary Building Hallways, some of the students in BPO shared who their favorite Black musical artist is and why.

Semhar Y. 10th grade- BPO Vice President

picture of BPO display

“My favorite artist would be J. Cole, he is a famous rapper. When he raps he uplifts people and doesn’t talk down on anyone. He compliments women and people of color.”

Semhar says her favorite part of being in BPO are the bonds that she has with everyone and continuing to build the connections and get closer to students and adults.

Leunamme S. 9th grade

“Childish Gambino is my favorite artist. He makes very chill songs. He makes a lot of love songs and I enjoy that genre of music.”

This is Leunamme’s first year as a part of BPO and she says she likes being able to talk about current issues with her peers and the volunteer opportunities they have.

KJ C. 9th grade

“My favorite musician is G Herbo. He’s from Chicago and is known for rapping. I’m from Chicago, my whole family is so I can relate to what he raps about. He was thrown into the street life, but now that he’s older and made a name for himself he encourages others to not get into that stuff.”

This is KJ’s first year in BPO. He says he likes that they made a program for the youth Black students in South St. Paul.

Diffina N. 11th grade

“I most relate to SZA, she’s a singer. She’s a role model for me, her music talks about the black girl experience and the struggles you deal with.”

Diffina joined BPO this year and says she likes that it’s a group of people she can be comfortable with that have experienced similar things.

Amal F. 11st grade

Amal chose not to discuss a musical artist. Instead she chose to talk about a Black historical artist they have been learning about in school, Josephine Baker.

“Josephine Baker’s story is pretty cool. I learned about her through a history project. She was one of the first Black dancers and performers that was accepted by White people. She was also a spy in World War II. I like how even though people kind of looked down on her because she was black, she still made a difference for her country.”

Amal says she enjoys her time at BPO meetings because it’s a community of like-minded people and she can be herself.

Sumaya U. SSP Graduate and Founding BPO Member

“The artist I decided to pick was Nipsey Hussle. He is known for his music and as an entrepreneur. He has invested in many Black businesses. A lot of artists are very different, but he talks a lot about things that are important and he is extremely community based.”

Sumaya graduated from SSP High School in 2021 and is a founding member of the SSP Secondary Black Pride Organization. She said she enjoys coming back to visit the group and help however she can. She appreciates how much the group has grown in not only numbers, but also community involvement.

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