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Organization for Black Unity's 19th annual fashion show had everyone seeing colors

Written by India Ambrose

Photos by Sai Kiran Palivela

Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 will go down as one of the most important days for the Organization for Black Unity’s: the organization presented its 19th annual fashion show held in the Plachta auditorium. “Mood: I See Color” was the theme and it was carried out with the help of more than sixty models and seven very important directors: Head Directors Lorrynda Walthall and Kendal Shorter, Junior Head Director Bobie Hare, Scene Director Micah Jones, Model Director Faithe Simpson, Venue Director Elayne Swafford and Vendor Director Aizhane Moore.

The theme was executed with seven scenes, each representing a different color. The lighting, garment and musical choices contributed to the color scheme of each scene. The cohesiveness of all the elements made for one of the most exciting fashion shows for OBU to date. Known for their use of choreography to spice up the show, they utilized exaggerated poses and dance moves in the entirety of the show.

Model poses during the "Blissful: Yellow" scene at the Organization for Black Unity's 19th annual fashion show, "Mood: I See Color." on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at Central Michigan University. Photo by Sai Kiran Palivela

The show’s introduction started with high energy as the hosts, CMU students, Kali Gaddie, Julian Hall, and Demetrius Woods got the crowd excited for the upcoming show. A video of the models and directors crossed the screen, giving the more than 500 show attendees an idea of what was to come. The directors in the video talked about how seeing color made them feel, acting as if they had never seen that intensity of color before or as if color was a foreign phenomena that they had just discovered. At the videos end, the models walked into the auditorium filling each row and wearing all white. The proximity of the models made the viewer feel as if they were almost a part of the experience.

The show began with the “Blissful: Yellow” scene. The music fit the mood perfectly, along with the vibrancy  of the garments that fit the theme as well. There were garments such as a yellow puffer jacket and a yellow hand knit sweater that stood out in the light.

The next scene was “ Envious: Green.” Rapper Cardi B’s song “Money” played and this got the models into the groove of their steps. The models roleplayed a bit and the female models portrayed a “snatch-my-man” attitude: they either added elaborate turns or “fought” over the male models by pulling them away to indicate a lover’s quarrel. Garments such as lime green crop jackets and puffer coats stood out the most.

Following the “Envious: Green” scene came a performance from rapper and CMU student D. Anonymous. As he rapped and sung about someone who was in hospice, the mood became somber yet he rapped with so much conviction.

The song tied well into the following scene: “In The Feels: Blue”. The models took on characters with relationship issues in this scene. One of the models had a phone, pretending to call to a significant other that he had a falling out with. The garments were blue and the walks were somber. One garment was a form-fitting, two-piece printed blue dress; another show-stopping outfit was a distressed knee-length denim dress.

Models pose during the "In the Feels: Blue" scene at the Organization for Black Unity's 19th annual fashion show, "Mood: I See Color" at Central Michigan University on Friday, February 22, 2019. Photo by Sai Kiran Palivela

After a brief intermission, the scene “Conceited: Pink”  had its time to shine. Pink’s mood was conceited and the “all-about-me” attitudes were apparent. This scene received the most hype from the audience due to the live performance by Myles, a previous CMU student and a singer-songwriter who performed songs from his EP “Color.” His songs were upbeat and strong and pushed the models to show their confidence with powerful strides.  At one point, the models danced along with Myles, causing the audience to go into an uproar. The main attraction for the scene was when Myles recreated dance moves from Beyonce’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance; another crowd favorite was the finale of the scene, when a male model throwing rainbow streamers toward the audience before confidently walking off the stage.

The “Luxurious: Black”  scene featured top-notch apparel and the models’ professional attitudes to match. There were a lot of choreography with the models in couples and groups, adding more flavor to the scene. Garments for that scene included  tuxedos on the men and power suits on the women. One garment that was really eye-catching was a white sleeveless blazer with geometric cuts.

The following scene was the “Passionate: Red” scene. This scene had a fountain prop made from coffee tables and surrounded by flowers in the middle, giving the stage some depth. Models held each other close in an embrace or were portrayed having intense disagreements with their lovers while pushing them away. One of the most noteworthy outfits was a rose-covered long sleeve shirt paired with a black leather skirt.

After this scene came a performance by CMU’s Rampage dance team. They danced to newer popular songs such as “Ice Me Out” by Kash Doll and “7 Rings by Ariana Grande.”  They gave a stellar performance with quick steps and fierce dance moves. This led into the “Energetic: Orange” scene, which had an energetic mood. The music featured fast beats and the colors were bright. The high energy carried all the way to the end of the scene when all the models came out and danced on stage. The garment that stood out the most from this scene was an orange knit dress with red flowers on the chest that looked like it was knit by hand.

Model poses during the "Energetic: Orange" scene at the Organization for Black Unity's 19th annual fashion show, "Mood: I See Color." on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at Central Michigan University. Photo by Sai Kiran Palivela

The finale had each scene come out separately to get their time to shine as a group.  The models wore garments from each scene and came out together, creating one big rainbow.They were greeted with loud rounds of applause and standing ovations. The directors came out in all the colors of the moods and thanked everyone for coming.

This show was one for the books, according to attendees and models alike. Kashmir Preston, a CMU student and model for the fashion show, said the show helped her confidence and teamwork skills.

“There was a family vibe, especially when one of the other models, Jack, prayed for us before the show,” Preston said. “It was an overall good experience.”

Attendees said that the show was “exciting” and “followed the theme perfectly.” OBU has shown us their growth from each show; when they set out to do something, they not only deliver, but deliver with intensity.

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