‘Broadway by the Bay’ actor visits

Performances by guest visitor Anthone Jackson


Heidi Yeung

Students gathered in the Syufy theater for a presentation and performance by Anthone Jackson. Students sang and listened to the presentation regarding the theme of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.

Heidi Yeung, Reporter

During community time today, students and faculty welcomed guest speaker and performer Anthone Jackson to the Syufy stage. Jackson, who has experience as a performing artist, sang hymns and songs to the audience, encouraging the crowd to sing along as well.

“These types of assemblies bring our whole community together and it really emphasizes how close of a community we are,” freshman Adania Cooper said. “It is a really important aspect of our school,”

The assembly started with a moment of espacio and quotes being read to the audience, similar to a regular chapel. This all-school meeting was unique and special, according to sophomore Joelle Lai.

“This assembly was really unique because it is rare for both divisions of the high school to be in a meeting together,” Lai said. “I liked how it had elements of a chapel but mostly consisted of Anthone Jackson’s performances,”

The assembly’s theme, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, was originally written by James Weldon Johnson as a poem, but started becoming a popular hymn within the Black community after 1900, according to CNN. The hymn, which is known as the Black National Anthem, was also performed during this Sunday’s Super Bowl. 

With performances of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, I, Too, Sing America, and more, the entire theater felt empowered from Anthone’s voice, according to Cooper.

“I appreciated Jackson’s visit a lot, especially in lieu of Black History Month,” Cooper said. “His voice was beautiful and I found his background information very interesting,”

During the songs, students sang along, repeated the lines, and clapped with the music. The theater was filled with an exciting buzz, according to Lai.

“I felt like we bonded as a community as we clapped in rhythm and sang in harmony,” Lai said. “It was exciting that the entire auditorium was so full and tight-knit,”

Jackson first spoke about his background in psychology and education, especially in regards to figuring out his identity. He has performed at Broadway By the Bay — a Bay Area performing arts theater — for various musical theater productions and plays.

“As Jackson spoke about his motivation to become an African American therapist, I wondered about the imbalance of representation in important everyday jobs,” Cooper said. “I think it is great that he wants to do what he can to change the imbalance.”