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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

BSC Banquet Buys Books

The Black Student Center helped raise money for book vouchers with its 19th annual fashion banquet. - Photos by Steve Osemwenkhae
The Black Student Center helped raise money for book vouchers with its 19th annual fashion banquet. – Photos by Steve Osemwenkhae

Proceeds from the Black Student Center’s 19th Annual Fashion Show raised money for book vouchers to help UMB students who are unable to afford textbooks. According to the BSC, over 75 percent of UMB students are unable to afford textbooks needed to reach their educational goals.

Scheduled to go from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday, May 1, the show got off to a late start, as DJ Amos Todman was late. The new Campus Center Ballroom looked great and it was apparent that students worked hard to put the event together. Widline Joseph, coordinator of the BSC and organizer of the fashion banquet, commented, “Funds were low in both the BSC and the Student Senate, so we needed designers to donate clothing for free.” Designers for the event included the 1804 and A. Dalliance crews.

A buffet awaited the audience once the show began. Hosts Hatim Jean-Louis and Bethanie Petit-Frere informed everyone that models worked very hard, but without the audience, no money would be raised. “We, as the Black Student Center, care for our fellow classmates and are willing to do everything within our power to help lessen college expenses…Our ability to work together will enable us to unite as a community to assist our fellow students,” commented Jean-Louis.

The models who kicked off the show strutted down the runway in tiny black skirts and white t-shirts. They performed a cheerleading scene, which was lively enough to lift the general mood of the evening and the banquet began immediately afterward. Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Keith Motley and his family were present at the banquet and had the honor of receiving their food first. After everyone in the ballroom was fed and seemed satisfied, they enjoyed a fashion show which showcased styles ranging from swimsuits to a Haitian clothing line.

Perhaps the thought of a contemporary fashion show brings super-skinny, super-tall models to mind. What was refreshing about this banquet was that the models, both men and women, were extremely diverse, encompassing all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. There was not one person on stage who didn’t have the right body or moves to model the clothing.

Another intriguing aspect of this year’s fashion banquet was the individuality of the clothes shown. The Haitian clothing line displayed pride in the nation with t-shirts reading “1804 for Life,” as 1804 was the year Haiti won its independence and is also the name of the design company. One model waved the Haitian flag as she strutted down the runway. “Haiti is a nation that paved the way for other nations to get their freedom,” said Petit-Frere, president of the Haitian American Society.

In addition to clothing models, the swimsuit models were also diverse in shape and size. When the male models approached the end of the runway, they ripped off their t-shirts and the ballroom echoed with screams from the ladies. The female models wore bikinis that were subtly revealing. One model sported a tan bathing suit with a V-shaped cut starting at a wide angle from her shoulders and narrowing to below her belly.

An international scene showed models in their native dress. Joseph commented that this was meant to illustrate that the show portrayed not only African-American models, but also other races and ethnicities. Since funds were low, the BSC was forced to resort to creative financing, even receiving some money from the models. This did not prevent them from putting on a great show. “They kept the audience loud,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, approximately $1000 was raised. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will go to the Student Senate and the rest will be put toward the book vouchers.