African Student Union Hosts Annual Fashion Show


Allie Kavalauskas

CONNECTING WITH CULTURE: The African Student Union welcomes students to celebrate African culture through fashion, music and dance.

The African Student Union (ASU) hosted its annual fashion show on Saturday, April 16 at Edge Cafe, which provided an energetic, positive environment to celebrate African culture through fashion. The show featured student models, music, dance performances and poetry readings. 

The fashion show provides a space for African students to remember and honor respective cultures by wearing traditional clothing. The models wore clothes from Obioma and All Things Ankara, brands that specialize in traditional African clothing. Models also wore their own clothing. Co-host of the event and member of the ASU core team, sophomore Clementina Aboagye reflects on how the event serves to connect students to their culture. 

“It is a moment for African students to commemorate their history, their culture, their traditions […] a moment for us to bask in the traditions from back home, memories and joys and to just really focus on uplifting and centering ourselves,” Aboagye said.

Aboagye also commented on how African values and culture are frequently disregarded. 

“Oftentimes African culture, African traditions, African values are swept under the rug or […] is only regarded when it’s in relevance to slavery or has some relation to trauma and we want to make this event be about the celebration of Blackness, the celebration of Africanness,” Aboagye said. 

Aside from the numerous students that dazzled the audience as models, there were various other performances that contributed to the celebration. Sophomore Ta’Von Amir performed an original poem titled “Memoir of a Star” which honors the uniqueness of the individual body, particularly the Black body. This was followed by junior Blessed Jimoh singing “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna from the movie “Black Panther 2.” This movie has significant representation of the Black community, and Jimoh also commented on how the song reminds people that regardless of their background or problems, there will always be something to lift them up.

Sophomores Ximena Aranda and Nicolás Flores also performed a contemporary dance piece to “No Woman No Cry” by Tems followed by another poetry piece titled “Dear Mama.” This moving piece is a tribute to immigrant mothers and their daughters, performed by senior Juny Ardon. The second song of the show, “Three Little Birds,” was sung a cappella by first-year students Joycelyn Brobbey and Jannah Zabadi. The final dance performance featured a new dance group on campus, the Afrocentric Dancers, that seeks to expand its membership as it honors African culture through dance. 

The models, clothes and talent of many amazing individuals were showcased on Saturday, and the hosts, Aboagye and sophomore Nia-Patrice Lewis made sure to keep the crowd’s energy up while providing an inclusive and positive environment. One highlight of the night was the dance competition led by the dynamic hosts that engaged the audience as competitors and judges. 

The evening would not have been possible without the hard work of many individuals, including ASU’s social chair, sophomore Gifty Afrifa, who shared her experience regarding the show.

“Working on the fashion show has been long and tiring,” Afrifa said. “However, I’m incredibly grateful to be working with such amazing women and men to put the show together. I’m proud that everything came together.”

The hard work of everyone involved did not go unrecognized, and many students were there to show their support and appreciation for African culture. One student, first-year Langh Guite, shared how much he enjoyed the event. 

“The fashion show was the best fun I’ve had at an event! The colors, dances, clothes, ambiance, the hosts […] such a transporting sensation. I cannot wait to see what ASU will coordinate in the future,” Guite said.

This marks another successful year for the ASU fashion show that was filled with many unique clothes, voices, dances and incredibly positive energy.