Explosions of paintings, spoken word and leading-edge designs were the highlights of the Black Student Association’s (BSA) annual fashion show, “24 Hours of Black Art.” Celebrating its 30 years, the Nov. 6 event featured work from 11 black fashion designers to a crowd of roughly 200.
The show was opened with a story of a black man who was killed due to police brutality. Complete silence fell amongst the audience as a female voice narrated the scene, comparing the black man’s actions to those of the policeman who later shot him to the ground.
“With this year’s theme, we really wanted to focus on, not just black-owned business like we do every year, but more toward social issues that have been going on,” Railyn Lamb, vice president of BSA, said. “The main message that we were trying to convey tonight is that we, as black people, matter. We’re not just athletes, singers or dancers, but we’re actual people who are hurt and should be allowed to be.”
Following the opening story, was a performance by four male dancers dressed in all black. As their bodies moved in tune with one another, cheers and applauds rang from the crowd.
“Tonight was amazing,” Tyler Chills, one of the dance performers, said. “I really enjoyed being able to express myself around so much black artistry and support.”
One of the show’s hosts, Tylan Martin, described the evening’s event as “creative confidence.”
Martin has been a participant of the annual fashion show for four years. He’s been a model, behind the scenes worker, and now, one of this year’s hosts.
“I love to see other young people, like myself, who are confident in what they want to do and not following a trend,” Martin said. “I love self-esteem. And I think it’s a beautiful thing to see everyone come together for a hypothetical 24 hours away from all the nonsense, chaos and negativity that’s been going on in the black community.”
Joe Garrett II, one of the designers, said that he was grateful to have his work included in the show.
“When people wear my clothes, I want them to be feel good about themselves,” Garrett said. “One of my favorite designs is the straight jacket that was modeled earlier. The inspiration behind it actually came from an incident when I lost my mind in Las Vegas.”
Garrett said that he likes to take real life aspects and incorporate them into his clothes.
“I design clothes for other people to have fun and feel good in,” Garrett said. “I hope that was conveyed during the show.”
The event also displayed various art portraits and paintings made by artists including Howard Franklin Jr.
“Most of my work is based on expression,” Franklin said. “I try to take the African American culture and bring out the essence of it. Back in the day, blacks were often referred to as “colored people,” so I take such colors and bring out the emotional aspects of an African American person.”
Franklin said he hopes people get an emotional relief from seeing his artwork.
“As people look at my paintings, I want them to see that those art images are going through the same struggles as them,” Franklin said. “And that they are not alone.”
Derrick Love, co-chair of the event, said that he appreciated seeing all of the raw talent that was displayed from the best painters, dancers, models and designers.
“I hope people were able to see that black people can get together and do something positive,” Love said. “We don’t always have to be highlighted for something crazy. We can do other things…we’re capable.”