This year’s Black Student Union (BSU) Fashion Show is an extraordinary landmark as it will be celebrating 50 years on campus. BSU has been a voice for not only the black community, but students of all ethnicities, as well as a catalyst of discussion for on-campus cultural events and activities since its conception. It will be looking to weave its history into the show this year.
“With this being our 50th anniversary, we’re definitely hoping to make an impact this year and do something big with the show this year,” said Mariam Adeyi, the social-cultural coordinator of BSU and a junior double-majoring in English and human development.
Each year, the BSU Fashion Show has a specific theme; last year’s theme was “Chronicles of Culture” and previous themes have centered on cinema or international fashion. This year’s theme focuses on the story of the “Black Pearl.”
“This year’s theme is about an African American journey of a boy who learns to discover his values and not succumb to ignorance,” Adeyi said.
BSU’s Instagram page has been teasing the “Black Pearl” theme with a chain of posts on their feed, counting down to the day of the fashion show. Some days feature a ship, others portray a whirlpool with a black pearl and all of them repeatedly allude to the “truth,” asking if you are ready for “the truths that the Pearl holds.”
In past years, BSU has opened discussions on social justice issues, such as police brutality and other acts of social controversy that have stirred the black community. For example, in its 2014 fashion show, which centered around the theme of cinema, a subtle mention of the shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown was interwoven into the show. The organization’s engagement on these topics illustrates its stride toward inclusion and invites a safe space for students to have open conversation about relevant topics.
Previously, the fashion show has been a fundraiser, with last year’s funds going to the BSU Youth Program, a program established to help younger students experience college life through activities such as a Kwanzaa celebration and roller-skating. BSU has repeatedly backed events run for youth, such as the U-Turn, a mentorship program that revolves around educating and supporting juveniles in both maximum and minimum-security prisons. Children involved in the BSU Youth Program have also made appearances onstage during shows, allowing them to cherish their time in the spotlight.
BSU has utilized different themes to portray its message in previous shows. Its 2017 show, based on the “Chronicles of Narnia,” was a six-scene twist to the fictional series, renamed “Chronicles of Culture.” In 2010, the show’s theme was on the importance of recycling, which leaned on fashion to illustrate the idea behind the show, using garbage bags and other recycling-orientated materials to convey that the impact of recycling goes a long way.
This year’s BSU Fashion Show is set to be one of the biggest yet, with its move from the Mandela Room to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, as the organization strives to commemorate its history on campus.
The show will be on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Tickets are $20 in advance and at the door.