By Kennedy Briscoe
The African Student Association (ASA) held their annual Fashion Show Je Suis Arfique (I AM AFRICA) on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Connecticut.
The event embodied, “the essence of what it means to be African, past and present…I am Africa, the voice you muted and trapped in a soundproof box,” according to their instagram post promoting the event.
The fashion show drew a large crowd with 376 tickets sold. UConn students, friends and family were all welcome.
The show had 22 models, 14 dancers, four designers and five board members in attendance.
The show kicked off with an introduction from the night’s host Blac haz, a comedian who mixes philanthropy , social justice, fashion and art to “change the world in a positive way.”
She is also the creator of “Fists up, Afros Out”, a unisex African inspired clothing brand. Models worked the runway the entire night wearing brands like “So Cakes” and “Heritage Links”.
One of the models, Angela Holly, expressed what it was like to be behind the scenes at such an event.
“I thought that behind the scenes we really got to see the designer’s outfits and, just like trying it on and making their creation come to life was just a wonderful experience,” Holly said.
She also expressed who her favorite designer of the night was and why.
“So Cakes, I really loved the designs that she used for her bathing suits, they were really really cute and I’m just mad that I didn’t get to take one home,” Holly said.
As the night continued, Africa’s influence could be seen through clothing, music and performances. Designer’s pieces included swimwear, streetwear and traditional African Dashiki’s. Dancers took the stage to perform traditional African dance and modern hip hop dances.
The Encore dance team performed followed by members of the All Star Dance team. Both teams are UConn based.
To end the night, board members took the stage to express their gratitude and appreciation for everyone who helped the production come together: Social Coordinator Adriana Turkson, Treasurer Princess Madu, Vice President Stephen Sam and President Odia Kane.
Kane gave advice on how to get involved with different organizations.
“For those who want to get involved, I think it’s just a matter of getting up and doing it. People get really anxious and get really nervous because they think that were going to be extra judgmental , we’re going to have these expectations that even we can’t reach, but put yourself out there and put in your best effort and I’m pretty sure it’ll be returned to you,” Kane said.
Kane also said the show helps unify the various voices who participated in the event.
“The name of the show is Je Suis Afrique which means I am Africa and for a lot of people, especially black people they come from all different places in the world and to know that there is an epicenter where all of us can be connected and have such a richness of culture and diversity, and we try to emulate that through all of our scenes too, from the jersey scene to the flag scene and even to the dances, then they can see that there is a part of Africa that they can all take with them and they too are Africa,” Kane said.