On Wednesday, February 21st during universal break, Vanier College celebrated Black History Month with a fashion show organized by Vanier’s own Catherine Dorcas Boateng, who is the creator of The Council of Black Fashion. The event showcased black men’s and women’s fashion throughout the decades, from the 1940’s to present day. There was also traditional African dress showcased. Who were the models? They were none other than Vanier’s own students from the black community.
There was not only great fashion to find on the runway in Jake’s Mall; there was also some solid dancing. Dancing from the 80’s as Michael Jackson to the song Pretty Young Thing. Korede Bello’s song Do like that was also danced to, but not before Respect by Aretha Franklin and Hot in Here by Nelly were blared from the speakers. The room erupted with energy when Drake’s song God’s plan came on. Every person in the crowd sang along to the beat, knowing every word. If you were feeling down at the start of this celebration, by the end, your mood was drastically improved.
Catherine organized this event because she saw a need for more events surrounding black history month on campus. She brought her ideas to VCSA, and they proceeded to get approved. With the assistance of the VCSA, Catherine’s ideas got off the ground and evolved into the energizing and informative event on the 21st.
In an interview with Catherine, she said the fashion show in addition to the musical night on the 15th she organised, “were both successful, and I was blessed to have a great team of VCSA members, performers, models, backstage runners, hair stylists, makeup artists and Black-owned brands in Montreal (Theos Montreal, South Kingz, Royial.T Clothing and Bad Mood).” She adds that she was glad to have had the opportunity to showcase black culture.
This event allowed for the representation of the black and brown population at Vanier, and it encouraged the appreciation and understanding of black culture. This fashion show also challenged stereotypes surrounding the black community, because there were models of a variety of body shapes and ethnic backgrounds, sporting a range of different looks. Jake’s Mall was filled with students for the event, many from different backgrounds outside of the black community. Everyone was respectful to one another, and despite the tensions between different racial communities in our society, this fashion show and events like it are small steps towards a less divided society and a society that learns and grows from each other. The fashion show as a whole was an educational, exhilarating and most importantly, a fun experience that showcased the black community of Vanier College.