BLU talent show blew audience away

Eva Fuller, Contributor

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The audience was rife with anticipation, eyes glued to the warm glow of the stage, ready to welcome the next contestant. There was plenty of buzz in the crowd after a lively performance by junior Irisha Banal, who sang a rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” With an active audience, gifted performers, and plenty of spirit, BLU’s annual talent show was going off without a hitch.

Black Leaders Union, otherwise known as BLU, is a prominent force within the school that focuses on discussing racial issues and bringing community together. BLU hosts an annual talent show which boasts a variety of students who act, rap, sing, dance, recite poetry, and more. It’s hosted by Chicago comedian Big Keef. Contestants could also win a cash prize of $100 for best performance.

The turnout for this year’s talent show was substantial. The audience was crucial due to an applause based voting system. While each of the ten contestants performed, including a teacher performance by Adam Levin, the audience gave them their utmost attention, with each act ending in a varying amount of applause.

Performances by junior Jarrell Sullivan, who danced to Michael Jackson’s “PYT”, and freshman Chloe Leach, who performed a song by Janelle Monae, captivated the crowd and made the voting process difficult. Nonetheless, after a lengthy judging session, Banal came out winning first prize.

“I was in a choir before, but I’ve never performed alone or solo, so this is a first time for me,” Banal said. “This is something that would up my confidence a bit, you know, and it would help me try out new things and stuff.”

The BLU talent show has been a club staple for 19 years. However, this year the club not only hoped to showcase student performers, but also expected to leave a positive impact on the student body.

As a club leader, setting up the talent show has been a fairly complex process,” said senior Kennedy Holliday, president of BLU. I hope that the audience can take away that our community has many talented individuals.”

Junior Aliyah Young, a member of the club, hoped to reach out to the audience in a similar way. “I hope (the audience) realizes there are a lot of talented students,” she said. “There are certain clubs that are always in the spotlight, or certain people who are always in the spotlight in the school, and it’s nice to give other people who are talented a platform.”

Young said she hopes the talent show will appeal to a wider audience in general, in hopes of fundraising for the club and its upcoming events. “We’re trying to start a dance at the school, like a winter dance, and a lock-in,” Young said. “It would be nice to actually have the funds to do it.”

Junior Grace Gunn, vice president of the club, hopes to draw in new members for BLU itself. “We really hope this inspires people to come out to the Black Leaders Union club, so we can have more people do better things within the school for black people and all minorities.”

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The student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School
BLU talent show blew audience away