Photos by Matt Hembree (C’20)
On Friday, November 11, the African and Caribbean Student Association (ACASA) hosted the multicultural fashion show in the Mary Sue Cushman Room. Models displayed colorful outfits from all over the world in celebration of diversity across cultures.
“In light of the election, it’s easy to start dividing ourselves based on our differences, but the fashion show allowed us to get together and appreciate the variety of people that go to Sewanee and really see the beauty in being different,” comments fashion show participant Chandler Davenport (C’19).
The show opened with a hip-hop style performance from dancers Chandler Davenport (C’19), Ariyan “Nikki” Cox (C’17), Sandy Milien (C’17), Ji’Nae Washington (C’19), Joey Adams (C’18), and Crystal Brown-Thompson (C’18). Their upbeat dance enthralled and excited the audience, setting the stage for the rest of the show.
Students modelled clothes from their native countries, including the Bahamas, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, and Pakistan. The show celebrated beauty, patriotism, and diversity. Simba Chakanyuka (C’17) was the emcee for the event, and models included Huguette Ciza (C’17), Maron Gulema (C’20), Mesgana Dagnachew (C’20), Daniel Gabriel (C’18), Eunice Muchemi (C’19), Blaise Iradukuna (C’18), Emmanuel Olutoto (C’19), Melanie Vaughn (C’18), Fridien Nana (C’17), Lauren Newman (C’18), Brandon Iracks-Idelin (C’18), Thomas Burless (C’18), and Jonathan Brown (C’18).
The show was especially important for some students to show others not only their native country, but also to carry on tradition. Representing Kenya, Eunice Muchemi (C’19) says that her “African clothes and traditions are important for self expression because it is a way for me specifically to connect with my ancestors, the people that have been a part of the culture that has been passed down from generation to generation. It helps one appreciate their roots and take pride in their identity.”
“It was amazing to see other students excited and interested in my culture. Sewanee has so much more diversity that most people think and I’m so glad we got to celebrate it. The fashion show was definitely a night of unity and peace,” says Megan Sweeting (C’19), a native of the Bahamas, who embraced the runway wearing traditional Bahamian clothing and flying the flag of the Bahamas.
The show exhibited cultural dance as well as cultural clothing. Erin Smolskis (C’17) performed a traditional Irish step dance, further displaying the the multitude of diverse cultures found at Sewanee.
Muchemi expresses the importance of the African and Caribbean Student Association by saying, “It is a way for our members to be proud of the rich cultures from their countries or their ethnic background. A way for us to celebrate a part of our identity with the community. A way for us to feel at home away from home.”