It wasn’t quite the level of insanity as last year’s Columbia High School Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, but screaming fans were out in force again this year.
However, before they screamed, they listened, as inductees Bisa Butler and Ibtijah Muhammad had important and compelling messages for the students.
Butler, a celebrated artist whose extraordinary quilts have been displayed at the Smithsonian, recounted her long search for her gift. She told the students about her path of trying and failing at sports, cheerleading and academic pursuits, before finding her way with art.
Muhammad echoed that message, imploring students to “find your gift,” and also telling them not to wait for others to tell them they are special, but to believe in themselves.
Muhammad also pointed out how meaningful it was to have SZA present. “It was really important to me to see her receive this honor last year, not only as a African-American woman but also as a Muslim. I know how difficult it can be during times like this.” Muhammad alluded to the current national political climate again later, urging students to be “agents of change.”
Muhammad also credited CHS for her Olympic success: “I would not have this medal without my Columbia High School family.”
SZA read an introduction from Muhammad’s former history teacher before Muhammad took to the microphone to deliver her speech to the students: