Inspirational, vivacious, dedicated, visionary, motivational are only a few of the ways to describe West End House teen ReignYah Grant. ReignYah has been a member at West End House for 7 years now and is heavily involved in leading and serving others at the Club, her school, and her community. She is a service driven individual dedicated to dismantling racism, encouraging social justice advocacy, reducing racial isolation and increasing diversity in her school, community and beyond. A Senior at Wakefield Memorial High School through the METCO program, ReignYah draws on first-hand experience as she tackles these issues through her activism and documentary film-making.

ReignYah, who participates in our Dance Pathways and Digital Arts Pathways recently submitted her documentary “What’s Going On?” to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) National Arts Contests. The contest recognizes Club members for their accomplishments in visual, digital and performing arts through its National Fine Arts Exhibit, ImageMakers National Photography Program and Digital Arts Festival. Her work was selected for recognition from over 120 submissions. 

For the documentary, ReignYah interviewed West End House staff members, asking them about the song “What’s Going on?” by Marvin Gaye. She asked them to explain what the song means and how it still resonates with the world today. Reflections by staff members are skillfully excerpted and edited together, gently but powerfully connecting the song to personal experiences of racism and oppression and the wider social unrest that results from these forces.  About the work, she shares, “There really is no timeframe for this song. Marvin Gaye wrote this song because of what was going on in his life and the many crossroads he faced. I really just want people to get this important message and learn from this documentary.”

This fall ReignYah will be attending North Carolina Central University where she will major in History with a concentration in African-Americal studies. She also plans to study television and film production, aspiring to be a documentarian and to educate others about Black history through the vehicle of film — sharing stories through her documentaries. 

Congratulations ReignYah! You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing your commitment to raising awareness and being a role model for lifelong learning and social justice activism! Your West End House family is so proud of you!