The Black Student Union held their sixth annual fashion show last Friday night to creatively show the true meaning behind melanin.
The entire event was proudly coordinated by students in The Black Student Union. The models, makeup artists and hairstylist positions were filled by students, and local clothing lines such as Set your Reality and Got Banz donated to the show. A few of the clothing lines being showcased were designed by Western students who are starting their own local businesses, but a few came from local designers who are not currently enrolled in courses at Western as an effort to support black businesses in the area.
The host of the show, Nah’ryan Reed-Crawford said, “We support each other’s businesses so we can get our lines off the ground. We support makeup artists, models and people like me who like to speak in front of crowds.”
The show meant a lot more to the students than nice clothes and bright lights, because of the culture they were supporting and the statements being made.
For instance, melanin was the theme of the fashion show this year, because BSU wanted to focus on the different shades of African American skin found throughout campus and the world. Rather than being defined as dark-skinned or light-skinned, students want to be recognized as individuals with unique shades and personalities.
Kasey Green, a student majoring in Health and Exercise Science at Western shared her poem entitled “Melanin” on the stage during a break. She spoke of the prejudice she experienced based off the color of her skin, and the dividing groups African Americans are placed in by society.
Green said, “I just wanted to show everyone the different shades of melanin. Growing up in today’s society, its either one category or the other, either light skin or dark skin that African Americans are defined in when there are at least fifty shades of melanin.”
Green’s poem stated that melanin is more than a science, and that it is an African lifestyle that all Africans are living. She ended the poem with a powerful, well-known saying, “The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice.”
The poem was a crowd favorite that night, because majority of the audience related to her poem, and voiced their support as she read aloud on stage. When Green uttered the last line, she was applauded by every single person in the room.
Green said, “I think that BSU did a great job showing everyone on campus what melanin is, the different shades, what they have to offer, and the culture behind it.”
Other than the poem being a crowd favorite, the host of the show said that her favorite part was when the students modeled their personally designed clothes, because they felt comfortable in the skin they’re in. Individuality, and not being confined by the labels society may have given the students was a statement repeated through fashion or words during the show.
Reed-Crawford said, “My favorite part was when they [models] came out in their own stuff, because when they come out in their own stuff you know nobody dressed them. It’s them who dressed themselves.”
The event packed the room full of ticket-buyers who came to support the BSU students, and what they stood for.
Center for Multicultural Education Director and BSU Advisor, Latoya Fitzpatrick said, “Yeah, it was a pretty good turnout this year, and the ticket proceeds are going to the BSU fund.”
BSU is a student organization on campus dedicated to empowering multicultural students on campus, and they meet every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Spratt 205.