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CBK Hip Hop Club Draws Inspiration from Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” Poem for Annual Show

CBK Hip Hop Club performanceUsing “The Hill We Climb” as inspiration, the CBK Hip Hop Club and its almost 30 members staged the group’s fourth annual show, “We are the Light” this week for community members and students.

“The Hill We Climb” is a spoken word poem written by American poet Amanda Gorman and recited by her at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2021. The hill is at the heart of Gorman’s poem, as it is featured in the title and mentioned prominently throughout the poem. The hill symbolizes the climb on which the United States is engaged from a social and political perspective, and how far the country still has to go before reaching the top. At the end of the poem, the poet asks that Americans be brave enough to “see” and “be” the light/hope. 

Set against the backdrop of graffiti signs of “Peace,” “Hope,” “Justice” and “Faith,” the Hip Hop Club’s show was prefaced with a request for audience participation in the form of clapping and dancing and a  history of hip hop culture. At the beginning of the show, students are introduced to the mysterious substitute Ms. Coppin, who magically transports the students to Inauguration Day 2021. The students watch several students portraying Gorman recite sections of the poem. In between sections, the students perform a stirring remix/rap of “Lift Every Voice,” a step performance with unity and harmony as a backdrop, and a dance number set to Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come.”

By the end of the show, students (on stage and in the audience) learn Ms. Coppin is Fannie Jackson Coppin, an American educator, missionary and lifelong advocate for female higher education for whom Baltimore’s Coppin State is named. Ms. Coppin issues a call to action and implores her students to recognize they are the light. The show closed with another dance number, this one set to Diana Ross’ “Brand New Day.”

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