Celebrating Black Culture

Fashion show highlights students’ cultural pride


Emily Faust

The United Common Ground, a student organization at Madison College, coordiated a fashion show to celebrate Black History Month.

Ruthie Hatter, Graphic Designer

On the last day of Black History Month 2023, Madison College students strutted their cultural pride in a fashion show dedicated to the celebration of Black culture worldwide.
Open to the public, the show was hosted at Truax Campus with a live DJ and traditional African and Black dishes, giving staff and students the opportunity to appreciate the apparel, enjoy one another’s company and win prizes.
Organized by Student Life grad assistant Olivia Lemke and Ro Encizo, Madison College’s manager of the first-year experience, the work that went into this event began back in December 2022, starting with a mass email sent out inviting students who identified as Black or African to express what they wanted to see for Black History Month.
“This was one of their ideas and I said ‘OK, let’s make it happen’,” says Lemke.
“The goal of our organization (United Common Ground) is to create a sense of belonging for marginalized students. So an event like today’s is the perfect example of what we strive for.”
Featuring diverse African and Black ensembles each with their own unique origin, the 14 students who participated were encouraged to model their respective cultures in a way that was meaningful to them. From modern streetwear to the time-honored classics, there was a statement made with every piece down the runway.
Student Wendpanga Tapsoba described the characteristics of her outfit and hairstyle that included minimal braiding with puka shells, chunky shell jewelry and even peanuts to accessorize. Our differences make us beautiful and strong and the models declared that boldly without a word.
“Togetherness. This is how it starts,” Margaret Joof stated in an interview. Student and co-president of the Black Student Union at Madison College, Joof passionately advocates for strengthening each other as a community through a willingness to learn and a welcoming attitude toward all cultures.
“Peace and unity, this is what all the world should be about,” she said.
Met with immense support from their peers and the public, this Madison College Black Culture fashion show was made possible through the collective effort and passion of the organizers and students, who believe everyone deserves a place at Madison College, no matter what.