It was a Thursday evening in Slayter and the sounds of drums and foot-stomping trickled down from The Roost, where students from professor Stafford Berry’s African dance classes lined the aisles surrounding the red carpet.
It wasn’t a dance party exactly, but a pretty lively fashion show, and not the kind you’d ever see during New York or Paris Fashion Week. This one was way more fun.
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members watched as student models worked a runway in the Roost wearing styles ranging from athletic wear and formal gowns to traditionally inspired African, Indian, and Middle Eastern clothing, designed and donated by the Muslim Student Association, Beverly Lloyd ’73 and her husband Oba Lloyd, and Juan Bernabe ’17.
The Multicultural Fashion Show is an annual event during Culture Jam, the week-long celebration of different cultures on campus. It is organized and sponsored by the Black Student Union with support this year from the Provost’s Office, the Open House, and the Denison Film Society, as well as other cross-cultural groups on campus, such as Agape Christian Fellowship, the Muslim Student Association, and Outlook.
The result, according to Brittane Maddox ’14, a co-chair of the week (alongside Anthony Daniels ’14 and Shakia Asamoah ’14), was worth the hard work. “This is my fourth year on the Culture Jam Committee and this is the most diverse group of support that I have seen,” said Maddox. “We had so many different faculty and staff attend our events and the variety of students who attended was a fantastic thing to see.”
The first Culture Jam event was a concert in 2001 featuring Slum Village, a hip-hop group from the Conant Gardens neighborhood in Detroit, Mich. But it has evolved into a week of festivities, which this year included a Gospel Fest concert, a diversity and culture panel discussion, Apollo Night, Film Night, and a concert opening with Ab-Soul and featuring Big K.R.I.T.