In “The Melting Pot’’ in Ashe’ VII, Part 1, trials and tribulations made up what’s significant about the different ethnic groups coming to America. It’s a play and script written by dance coach Barbara Solomon, who doubles as the Ashe’ chair for the African American Cultural Society.
Solomon’s songs, dance and narratives make way for a roundup of performers from the Flagler County NAACP Youth and College Division. The play was recently presented at the African American Cultural Society as a wrapup for the NAACP’s “Summer Internship Program,” which mentors and develops young artists.
The eight-week program entailed workshops in dance, drama, filmmaking, poetry, creative writing, photography, cultural enrichment and problem solving, and provided the students with opportunities to explore their talents, challenge their interests, and expose their minds to new opportunities.
Behind the lineup at SIP are ACT-SO Director Stephanie Ecklin, Youth and College Coordinator Leasa McLeish and Flagler County Branch President Linda Sharpe Haywood.
“The Melting Pot” in Ashe’ VII, Part I was a forerunner of Ashe’ VII, Part II, which allowed a recent biennial art show to be held by the African American Cultural Society.
“The Melting Pot” not only involved a storyline of immigrants assimilating into a different culture – and forced against their will as the African-Americans – but having the audience members sign on to ponder questions for an interactive play.
Audience members took notice and displayed “yes” or “no” signs to answer the question: Does America have more than one melting pot? Have you ever pushed someone down because of who you thought they were, before you learned who they really are?
The first query brought Jamel Brown onstage for a monologue, “What am I?” The song, “Change Gonna Come,” was vocalized by Alexis Williams, and a poem, “I’m Not Sorry,” was performed by Jaira Jackson.
Anais Mims recited the poem “Still I Rise.’’ Kristen Quire was the cast member presenting questions to the audience.
“The Melting Pot” had a backdrop of sponsors, namely the African American Cultural Society, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Flagler County school district, Our Voices Thrive Magazine and Grace Community Food Pantry.
Taking the extra steps to making the play draw attention were guest artists, set designers, gospel ministries, instructors, as well as other advisors.
As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.