By Fred Boehrer
On the night of Feb. 24, the Black Student Union put on the 19th Annual Fashion Show at Mechanics Hall in downtown Worcester. This year’s show was focused on looking back at Black Fashion Throughout the Ages and featured performances from “Fusion” Dance Team and “In Da Zone” Dance Team from the Worcester Boys and Girls Club. The event acted as a last celebration and culmination of the various talks and discussions focused around Black History Month.
The event started with food and drink, with time to take pictures and catch up with friends who were all dressed to impress. Following the time to socialize, guests were called to the ballroom of Mechanics Hall to get seated for the start of the show. The Co-Chairs of BSU, Alliyah Veilleux ‘17 and Jared Boone ‘17, welcomed the guests and elaborated on the theme of the night; enjoying and celebrating the style of Black Fashion throughout the decades, while also understanding the political climates that affected each decade’s style of dress.
The MCs, Yonetta Harris ‘18, Marcellis Perkins ‘19, and Tylar “Slim” DeWitt ‘18 got the crowd going with insightful and educational knowledge throughout the event, taking time to not only mention the fashion trends of each decade, but the music, the politics, and the struggles and triumphs of so many people before them. The show started with the soul of the 70s, transitioning to the power of hip-hop and rap during the 80s and 90s, the R&B of the 2000s and concluding with modern clothing and the thought of what is yet to come. Perkins referenced the theme of recycling fashion and music through the years stating, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
The show took a break from the fashion of the decades to take a deeper look at the culture and politics that were so intertwined with the fashion of each decade. A video production, edited by Marcellis Perkins, highlighted as a nation what we hold as pop culture. Clips of Migos, Drake and Rihanna, even the infamous “Cash Me Ousside” Girl, phased in and out of the screen, clips of the Trump for President campaign mixed with clips of protests all across the country, finally ending with news footage addressing the epidemic of the killing of unarmed black men and women across America with the words “How will you respond?” etched on the screen. After the show Perkins elaborated on the message of the video: “We’ll remember the fashion and the music but what will we remember about the social climate and what we chose to do?”
A consistent attendee of the BSU Fashion Shows, Lance Madden ‘18, when asked about the significance of the fashion show said “The show represents a lot, it’s one of the one times students of color really get to show who we are to the rest of the Holy Cross community.” He added, “It’s one of the most diverse audiences we can have on campus for event like this.” The Group of models selected to walk during the show shined in each decade, adding their own flair by reciting a planned handshake or dance with the other model on the runway. Emmanuel Wu ‘19, a second year model, mentioned how welcoming the BSU was to models from all different walks of life. “Everyone, no matter who you are can try out different styles of fashion,” he said. Yonetta Harris ‘18, a member of BSU and Co-MC, elaborated on the success of the show, saying, “We aren’t just talking about black people, it’s not just about us, it’s about us a whole in the community. We touched on sexuality, gender, class, and other complexities because race is not the only ‘-ism’ that affects us.”
All in all, the BSU Fashion Show was an incredible night filled with food, music, dance, fashion, and above all, a sense of fostering a more tightknit community here at HC.