Black History Month Spotlight: Mariah T. on embracing her authentic self


Mariah T. has been lighting up the dance stage for as long as she can remember, a passion that grows daily as a senior at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

While working toward her dream of becoming a professional dancer, her dedication to dance is complemented by an exploration of her culture.

As secretary of the Black Student Union (BSU) and co-producer of her school’s African American Heritage Festival, Mariah has become a voice for other young Black students and dancers.

“Everyone’s a star in their own way because they bring something different to the table,” Mariah said.

“Through the festival, I get to work with younger Black students who are just entering Booker T. and ready to share their culture.”

Becoming secretary of the BSU also strengthened her connection to her culture. Through this organization, she empowers a strong community of student-leaders who are passionate about celebrating Black culture and identity.

“I was always scared to let my hair down. I would pull it back for dance class because it was kind of a battle wanting to straighten my hair. My mom would say, ‘Your curly hair is beautiful,’” Mariah said. “I’ve learned to embrace my curls and I love my hair now.”

As Mariah continues to hone her craft and embrace her cultural identity, she finds inspiration from trailblazing dancers like Misty Copeland, the first Black principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. “The willpower she had to get to where she is now makes me feel like I can be in any space and remain strong.”

After graduating high school, Mariah plans on applying to a university with a focus on dance and communications or becoming a professional dancer.

Mariah’s dance teacher, Kate Walker, says she is a dream to work with and a dynamic performer. She also believes Mariah will excel in accomplishing her future plans.

“I hope she remembers me when she’s famous, that’s my outlook on Mariah’s trajectory from here,” Walker said. “She’s incredibly versatile as a performer and artist. Wherever she wants to go, she’s going to get there.



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