By Daniel Gage

African American students at Lee’s Summit West High School are not always associated with the arts, but there are many African American students in the arts that make a big impact on society and diversity at Lee’s Summit West.

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Photo by Alyssa Sloss


Freshman Joylyn Carter partakes in band, choir, and theatre she believes that African American students have an impact on the arts, but she believes that the African American culture could leave a bigger influence. Carter wants the culture to be known for more than rap and the latest fashion trends.

Culture has affected her and many others in many way. “In Theatre, I feel like roles get turned down because you’re not a certain color, or they don’t think you can bring the effort that someone of another race can.” said Carter.

The teachers in the art program, such as Brad Rackers and Sean Harrel, among the others work to incorporate diversity into their classes, but many students wish they would sit down and explain why diversity in the Arts has moved through the social chain in history.

Projects displayed in the Art Appreciation display shows off student’s talents and personal expression. Photo by Alyssa Sloss

Senior Josh Carter works with theatre, but believes a little different. Carter believes that African Americans have made a big impact on the Arts and that it will continue to grow especially with how many African Americans are making a shift back into the Modern Arts with examples such as “Hamilton The American Musical” and “Fences” the movie starring Denzel Washington which is causing more diversity in the Modern Arts.

Josh believes in performing with a open mind and preforms for the love of it. He loves making people happy and making them feel what the character feels. America’s up’s and downs also leaves effect on what is performed in theatre like recently Carter performed in a series of short form plays called “28 hours” based on the statistic that every 28 hours a African American is killed by police violence.

“I really don’t have to prove anything as long as I do my thing I can stand on the proverbial shoulders of the giants who came before me,” said Josh.

Photo by Alyssa Sloss

Some opinions co-side with Joylyn’s on how the Arts need to add more lessons of diversity in school to teach kids about it. Now African Americans are nothing new to the Arts from Ray Charles to James Brown and others.