Afro-Centric fashion show celebrates Black Beauty


Tiffany Young | @photographybytiffa

Members of SIU’s Delta Phi Delta Dance Sorority dance while the fashion show contestants change into their “Celebrating Our Melanin” inspired attire on Feb. 27, 2022 at Morris Library in Carbondale, Ill.

The Carbondale branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Black Resources Center hosted their second annual Afro-Centric Fashion show at Morris Library in Guyon Auditorium on Feb 27. From 3p.m-4 p.m. During the show there were two types of themed attire the models wore: African Inspired and Celebrating Our Melanin.

Robin Johnson, a member of the Carbondale NAACP branch, said 2020 was the first time they held the Afro-Centric fashion show.

“The first one we originally did was in 2020 and then the pandemic came, so we were not doing it. I was shocked, but pleased when Dr. Flowers said we’re on schedule with the SIU calendar for the fashion show, so we were excited,” Johnson said.


Due to the pandemic they were not able to host the fashion show the year after, but after finding out they were on the SIU Black History Month schedule they were excited to bring it back. Johnson said.

To kick off the fashion show volunteer Mathew Wilson sang a song.

Emcee of the event, Akiaya Thomas, then introduced Chara McKinzie, the program coordinator for the Black Resources Office who thanked everyone for coming out to the event. Thomas then introduced the first clothing set: African Inspired.

Debra Woods, Vice President of Women for Change and Kate Heist, a fellow member of the organization, helped design the outfits for the fashion show.

Woods said Black History Month is more than just about talking about famous African American figures throughout history.

“Black History Month is about discovery and I looked at some of the designs here, some of the T-shirts, and my creative juices started to flow. And that’s what I think Black History Month is about […] thinking about things other than yourself and your own well being,” Woods said.

According to Woods, Black History Month should be about sharing ideas with other Black people and helping us improve as a people.


Heist said she enjoyed working with the different colors and fabrics to be able to create something beautiful.

“I love color and the colors of those fabrics […] they just send me right up to heaven almost. Beautiful clothing and as far as Black History Month goes, it’s like I always learn something. The more I participate, the more I learn,” Heist said.

Before the second half of the fashion show the Epsilon Chapter of Delta Phi Delta Dance Sorority Inc. performed a dance. After the dance the models came out in their final outfits. The theme was “Celebrating Our Melanin.”

The fashion show concluded with closing remarks from Robin Johnson.

According to Johnson, the fashion show is not the only way Black children can embrace themselves. The Afro-Academic Cultural Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a great way for Black high schools to show off their talents.

“You had classical, you had Ballet, you had hip-hop, you had theater, you had it all. But it was even greater to see the artists, to see the scientists, to see the culinary, too […] and they all look like me and you,” Johnson said.

Johnson said ACT-SO allows Black high school students to compete for various scholarships and other prizes.

Johnson said it was important to have the fashion show because, for a long time, Black people did not feel that their skin was beautiful.

“I’m just hoping that they get from it to be proud of who they are and proud of their skin because you and I both know for so many years and even now, we have so many Brown and Black children that are not proud of their skin. And that’s what I’m hoping that they get from it is that, ‘hey, I am amazing. I am here my black is beautiful’.” Johnson said.

Johnson said the event will help remind Black boys and girls they do not have to live up to a certain beauty standard pushed on them and they can be themselves.

“Our melanin is amazing, and we come in all different shapes. We are beautiful, and we are unique,” Johnson said.

Assistant to the Editor Janiyah Gaston and Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.