School’s first Black History Month fashion show highlights various cultures

The college has hosted a number of Black History Month-related festivities, including a weekly film series.

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Madison College held its first Black History Month fashion show in February, and it featured styles created by the student models who highlighted their respective cultures.

The event was hosted by the Wisconsin school’s Intercultural Exchange Center and United Common Ground, two organizations that encourage cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion through on-campus events, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The school, formally named Madison Area Technical College, has hosted a number of Black History Month-related festivities, such as a weekly film series as well as the second annual Dzigbodi Akyea Art Exhibit by the college’s Black Women’s Affinity Group.

Olivia Lemke, a graduate assistant, was one of the lead organizers of the fashion show. The celebration was added to this year’s Black History Month activities after a number of Black students expressed interest in modeling, according to Lemke.

She said she believes so many students participated because they were eager to express their culture “in a unique way,” with their clothing instead of their words, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

She added, “There are people coming from, representing, all sorts of different countries and cultures.”

The Black History Month Fashion Show was held Tuesday and featured a DJ, food, prizes and student designs representing Gambian, Haitian and other cultures as well as the Black Panther Party. 

“I just feel like I’ve been all around the world,” Madison College student Margaret Maggie Joof, from Gambia, said of the event, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Joof styled and modeled an outfit to honor her heritage.

Annette Crowder, co-president of the Black Student Union, created an outfit inspired by the Black Panther Party. 

“I had to think of how I would represent someone who doesn’t know their original heritage,” said Crowder, who wore all black and rocked an Afro.

She said she hoped to bring awareness to “the Black Panther culture,” adding, “I know I was the odd one out, but I was like, ‘I don’t care, it’s a culture too and it’s prevalent in our history.’”

Joof, a Student Senate member and co-president with Crowder of the Black Student Union, said the goal was for “everyone to see themselves, no matter what background they come from.”

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