Allyson Knight
Allyson Knight moved around a bunch before she felt the power of the Sonic Boom at a 2023 Jackson State University scrimmage. Now, Knight wants to make JSU a more permanent arrangement. Photo by Imani Khayyam

By Laila Henderson

Allyson Knight saw the Sonic Boom for the first time in 2023 at a Jackson State University football scrimmage. The band was split into two on each side of the bleachers and represented the white team and the blue team in front of a large crowd. Knight sat on the blue side. It had rained earlier, but the sun was still high in the sky. It was hot, though that did not make Knight enjoy her experience any less. The bands played, cheering their respective sides. 

“They had good sound, they had good discipline,” Knight said. 

Eventually, the bands joined as one and played “Who Do I Turn To,” her favorite song. Though she loved playing the clarinet for her school band at Jim Hill High School, she couldn’t help but admire the loud, rich sound of Sonic Boom’s trombones. Knight left the game wanting to attend JSU and join Sonic Boom to become a Tiger. 

Knight admired the ability of Sonic Boom because she had experience with band performances. She knew the amount of effort it took to make their show happen. Her school participated in the Battle of the Bands, where several bands from all over Mississippi and other states get together to compete. Every band would do a field show and have stand battles against each other. At the end, the best bands would receive awards for their musical performance and talent.

A line of tuba players on  a lit football field at night
Allyson Knight saw the Sonic Boom for the first time in 2023 at a Jackson State University football scrimmage. “They had good sound, they had good discipline,” she decided. Photo by William H. Kelly III / Jackson State University Communications

Knight, 16, was born in Jackson, Mississippi. She moved around, attending several different schools, before attending Jim Hill High School. She dreams of becoming a chef because of her passion for cooking and her willingness to try new recipes. To achieve this dream, she plans to go to college to major in business and become an entrepreneur. 

As she has gotten older, Knight has worked on coming out of her shell, as she used to be a very shy kid. She tries to lift the spirits of those around her and make people feel comfortable. She has witnessed the poverty and violence in Jackson; however, she also sees the good and has realized the importance of giving back to the community. She participates in community service through a program called Torch Club in order to be a part of the solution to these problems. With the Torch Club, Knight gave out food to the homeless and collected cans for the Salvation Army. 

Knight’s greatest influence is her mother, Umeka Walls. 

“She’s a good inspiration in my life,” she said. “She helps bring the spirits up, and she’s there when nobody else is. She’s a good person to talk to, she provides for us, all of that.” 

While Knight’s dream is to become a chef eventually, she has a more immediate goal of being a part of Sonic Boom. But overall, she wants to be a role model.

“The birth of my little sister helped me realize that I need to lead by example,” she said. 

Between her father not being around much and the arrest of her older brother, Knight had to be the oldest sibling in the house and the only role model for her sisters and niece. She wants her sisters to see the good in the world and to aspire to be part of it. Having a stable life and a career would show her sisters and niece what to strive for when they get older. 

After joining the Youth Media Project, Knight has learned a lot about the elements of journalistic writing. The program also aided her journey of coming out of her shell and communicating with more people, as it was a very important skill when it came to conducting interviews with her group. It also gives Knight an opportunity to voice her ideas about how she can help bring about good in the world.