Diversity Council Puts on Black History Month Fashion Show

On Friday, February 10th Berkley High School’s Diversity Council hosted a fashion show for black history month in the auditorium, presenting looks from the 1960s to the 2000s. The show included catwalks from black members of the council, wearing outfits from black-owned businesses as well as their own closets. There were also musical and dance performances, all in hopes of showing how black people have influenced popular culture over the years.

Sidra Tamim, class of 2023 and first-time member of the Diversity Council, explained that the original idea for the show came from her fellow council member, Savannah Moncrief:
“Savannah had the idea of having a talent show originally: fashion, talents, and a conversational segment where black students would talk about their issues being in a predominantly white school. But that was a lot of work for us to do in only two months, so we condensed the idea into a fashion show with vocal and dance performances sprinkled throughout.”

Diversity council has been working on the show since late November, officially arranging their ideas before winter break and beginning their hands-on work after school resumed. To prepare for the show, the Diversity Council bought clothes, created a Black History Month display case, and sold tickets in both the Diversity Council classroom and at the SCAC during fourth hour and lunch all week prior to the show. The members of the council that were modeling worked non-stop to perfect their walk and their performances, aiming to make the best show possible.

When asked what her personal favorite part of the preparation process was, Tamim responded, “It was my responsibility to do the display case. After putting all the time and work into it, the end result was so pretty. So that was definitely my favorite part.”

When Friday finally rolled around, the entire student body was dripping with anticipation. The auditorium was packed, a podium and microphone were set up in the corner of the stage, and a large screen projected a slideshow.

The show opened with a speech from Diversity Council Advisor Mr. Cooper about the struggles black people are still facing today. He spoke about the removal of race lessons that are beginning to happen in American schools. Then declaring that black history will not be erased. The crowd cheered in agreement, and the Diversity Council took the stage.

Before the fashion walks, there was a beautiful performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by senior council member Mya Williams. As she sang “The Black National Anthem,” other members of the council stood in a line with their hands raised in fists. The performance was deeply meaningful, and everyone in the crowd felt it.

After Mya, a collage of black culture in the 1960s was projected across the screen, council members then walked on the stage with their best 60s-inspired looks.

For the 70s, members of the council trotted out in bell bottoms, leathers, and funky patterns. In the 80s portion, Michael Jackson played over the speaker as the models began a dance number. The crowd went wild, loving the energy the dancers were giving. The 90s collage showed black icons such as TLC, Whitney Houston, and Queen Latifah. The models came out with baggy jeans, bandanas, flannels, and jerseys. The performance for the last decade in the show, the 2000s, gifted the crowd with another exciting dance number with incredible moves by the Diversity Council.

The final part of the show was a rap from council member Misi Farquharson. Conquering technical difficulties, Misi still managed to give an inspiring and impactful, self-written song about the trials and tribulations black people face in America.

The show ended with one final slideshow showing artwork from black artists, and all the models and performers, as well as Mr. Cooper, walked out for a final bow. Raising their fists up high, they took in the applause and cheers from the audience.

Tamim said that Diversity Council’s hope for what the audience would get out of the fashion show was “That they get the message behind the show and can see how black people are able to influence fashion throughout the years. Instead of just thinking, “Oh, a fashion show is cute and fun, they’ll actually learn and think about how important it is to acknowledge the black impact.”The show that they put on that day certainly taught that lesson.