Photos: Black Student Union Brings Runway to Holy Cross with 20th Annual Fashion Show

With hundreds of students in attendance, the show celebrated 50 years of the BSU at Holy Cross through performances and color-themed scenes
February 28th, 2018 by 

A student walks down the runway during the red scene of the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student walks down the catwalk during the red scene of the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

Hip-hop dance team Fusion performs during the red scene.
Hip-hop dance team Fusion performs during the red scene. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student strikes a pose on the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student strikes a pose on the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Elizabeth Gorrill '18

A student walks down the catwalk during the red scene at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student models during the red scene at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student walks down the catwalk at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student models at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student models during the black scene at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student models during the black scene at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Elizabeth Gorrill '18

A student walks down the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student walks down the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student walks down the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student walks down the catwalk during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student walks down the catwalk during the red scene of the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student walks down the catwalk during red scene of the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

A student strikes a pose while walking down the catwalk at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
A student strikes a pose while walking down the catwalk at the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Elizabeth Gorrill '18

A student models during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show
A student models during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

Mechanics Hall in Worcester was sold out for the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
Mechanics Hall in Worcester was sold out for the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Isiah George '20

Fashion Show Founder Cheryl Yiadom
Fashion Show Founder Cheryl Yiadom '02 speaks to the audience during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Elizabeth Gorrill '18

BSU Founder Arthur Martin delivers a speech during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show.
BSU Founder Arthur Martin '70 delivers a speech during the BSU 20th Annual Fashion Show. Photo by Elizabeth Gorrill '18

Models gliding down a runway. Buzzing crowds. Cameras clicking. Sound like scenes from New York Fashion Week? Think again. Models gliding down a runway. Buzzing crowds. Cameras clicking. Sound like scenes from New York Fashion Week? Think again.

The Black Student Union (BSU) at College of the Holy Cross held the 20th Annual BSU Fashion Show on Friday, Feb 23 at Worcester’s historic Mechanics Hall.

Founded in 1998 by Cheryl Yiadom ’02, the BSU fashion show is always a rollicking success — since its inception, tickets have sold out every year. And this year was no exception, with students filling seats from the floor up to the rafters.

This year’s event was particularly special as it celebrated the 50th anniversary of BSU at Holy Cross, featuring students modeling designs in five different color-themed categories — white, black, red, brown, and gold — which each represented facets of the BSU’s history on campus.

  • White: This scene symbolized the campus of Holy Cross during the integration of black men onto the campus led by the efforts of Father Brooks and the establishment of the first BSU on the campus of a Jesuit college in 1968
  • Black: Symbolizing black power and the need for the establishment of the BSU to protect the black students on campus, this scene also showed the small black female presence on campus after the acceptance of women to Holy Cross in 1972
  • Red: Performances and models in this scene showed the sacrifice, unity, and love of the past black students on campus that laid the foundation for black unity, love, and community
  • Brown: Students showed the diversity of students of color that emerged after the BSU that allowed them to claim space their space on campus with the establishment of other multicultural student organizations
  • Gold: Channeling the golden jubilee, the gold scene celebrated 50 years of the BSU at Holy Cross

Additional performances during the show included the Belmont AME Zion Youth Choir singing the Black National Anthem, a performance of “Black Man Rising,” and performances from Rhythm Nation Steppaz, Fusion, and R.O.O.T.S.

Maeve Sweeney ’18 attended the fashion show for the first time this year. “The energy in the air was contagious,” she says. “The show was about much more than fashion — it offered history of the Black Student Union, highlighted the work of multicultural student organizations on campus, and celebrated what Holy Cross is all about. It was impossible not to cheer for students you recognized from around campus as they performed on stage or walked down the runway.”

Robert Jones, associate director of multicultural education and faculty advisor for the BSU and the fashion show, shared the sentiment.

“It is an honor and a great pleasure to be at this place at this time,” says Jones. “As the advisor, I am in a position to support students’ efforts of educating themselves and the greater Holy Cross community about the wide and varied black experience — historically, socially, and academically. This year is very special and I am humbled by the significance of both milestones.”

The Black Student Union was founded in 1968 by Arthur Martin ’70, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In its 50 years, the organization has grown to become one of the largest student organizations on the Hill. Fashion show organizers, Heliannet Sanchez Feliz ’18 and Eeliyah Beckham ’19, honored both Yiadom and Arthur during this year’s event, and the guests’ respective speeches, which touched on the history and importance of the BSU at Holy Cross, were met with thunderous applause — proof that fashion and social justice are not mutually exclusive.

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