The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Finding cultural inspiration in the media

Why West Africa decided to use Tyla’s ‘Water’ for their Heritage Night performance

In our increasingly digital world, social media, particularly platforms like TikTok, have become a primary avenue for self-expression within various communities. TikTok’s emphasis on music and dance related content plays a pivotal role in shaping trends and cultural expressions worldwide, including at Annandale High School.

At AHS, as students prepare for Heritage Night, many groups have looked to trends as inspiration for their own performances.

Notably, the West African group has chosen to illuminate the stage with a dance performance choreographed to the song ‘Water’ by Tyla Laura Seethal.

‘Water’ has quickly increased in popularity on music streaming platforms, and has also gained substantial recognition on TikTok, where its dance has become a trend embraced by audiences worldwide. Tyla also won a GRAMMY award for the song, for Best African Music Performance.

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West Africa is one of the most anticipated dance groups every year at Heritage Night, and they always come prepared with a diverse range of dances and songs.

This year, the group’s choice to use the song, ‘Water,’ will surely be a crowd favorite as many recognize the song from TikTok or other social media platforms.

Although many frown on excessive social media use or the integration of cultural traditions and more modern traditions that circulate the internet, TikTok and other social media platforms have proven to be a bridge between generations, cultures, and barriers.

Senior Christiana Kalokoh, one of the West African group’s performers, discusses her group’s inspiration from ‘Water’, the role of the media in selecting and inspiring music and dances for Heritage Night, and the overall value of social media platforms such as TikTok in raising cultural awareness.

Kalokoh was asked the following questions about the West Africa group’s decision in choosing the song, and other factors of their performance.

Why did you choose water as one of the songs for your performance?
“We chose ‘Water’ because as of right now it is one of those trendy Afro beat songs. We love picking songs that we know the audience knows and can vibe to.”

Where did you first learn about Tyla and her ‘Water’ song and dance?
“I first saw the video on YouTube, but saw that it was becoming a popular sound on TikTok, and that people were doing the dance as a dance challenge.”

How do you think TikTok or the media played a role in picking Heritage Night music?
“I think TikTok and the media allows us to find trendy songs that we know will keep the audience interested in the dance. We pick songs that are representative to our culture, but we also pick songs that people can vibe to. So social media helps in the entertainment aspect of the songs we pick.”

What other things have you learned about different cultures through TikTok/ the media? These can be songs in other languages, traditions, etc.
“I see many languages and cultures on TikTok. I learn about different ethnic foods and dances, etc.“

Anything else you would like to add about the West African performance or any choices for the dance, music, or outfits?
“West Africa always eats, we’re a crowd favorite and we work hard to choreograph our dances. We love to use inspiration from trending afro beats, and we love to dance. In our culture we use our lower body to dance and enjoy the rhythm of the music, so many have their opinions about the types of dances we do, but it’s just [who we are].”


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About the Contributors
Christina Abouzeki
Christina Abouzeki, Co-International Editor
Senior Christina Abouzeki is in her second year of journalism as a Co-International Editor. She loves reading, listening to music, and traveling. She plays on the varsity volleyball team and the violin in the philharmonic orchestra. Outside of school, she also likes to spend time with her friends and family.
Sadiksha Gurung
Sadiksha Gurung, Co-International Editor
Senior Sadiksha Gurung is in her second year in the A-Blast as the Co-International Editor. She enjoys reading, crochet, movies, food, painting, traveling, and spending time with her friends, family, and dog. She is pursuing the IB diploma and loves being a part of various clubs and communities at AHS.

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