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  • Briana Wasil

Afro’s Annual Fashion Show hits the KAC!

By: Briana Wasil, Contributor

This Saturday the Koessler Athletic Center opens its doors to Afro-American Society’s (AAS) 10th anniversary fashion show, this year entitled “Four Seasons.” Opening at 5:45 p.m. and starting at 6 p.m., Afro’s president offered behind-the-scenes insight that contributed to the creation of this transformative production.

Senior Jayseana Jackson, a philosophy major with minors in studio art and art history, has been a part of AAS since freshman year. Entering Canisius during the midst of COVID reinforced her determination to pursue her involvement within the communities she was a part of. Through this journey, she heard about Afro — which was a pleasant surprise, as she was unaware of clubs that highlighted specific cultures —, and in attending one of the events, she instantly felt connected to the comfortable atmosphere. 

In exploring why she felt drawn to Afro’s atmosphere, Jayseana stated, “When you’re outside in the world, most people don't celebrate culture and Blackness as a good thing. … And so here Afro was celebrating Blackness and culture as a good thing, and I was like, ‘This sounds like something I definitely want to get into.’”

In harmony with Afro’s mission, the Four Seasons fashion show is a reflection of change not only in life and time but also within development. Like the seasons, the number four signifies transitions students go through from freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year, showcasing different areas of growth one undergoes in their journey. This event also features student models and consists of local Black designers in Buffalo, along with Black caterers and makeup artists. There will be student performances during intermission, and, after the show, there will be a pop-up shop for people to check out the local Black businesses and clothes that were showcased. 

Jayseana also shares that there have been current student designers the club works with through Buffalo State and Canisius University, such as MJ and his brand called “LoLife.” When it came down to designs, “Each designer had their own creative ability so we had [them] pick a different season that they felt their clothes resonated with.” 

They used a similar process with the models, investigating what types of walks each season would give and what it would look and feel like. In regards to the concerns AAS experienced during their initial planning process, it surrounded the name of the club. Jayseana expanded on this, saying, “It’s difficult to get students involved because they think, ‘Oh, I have to be African American to participate in any of the events for this club,’ but that’s not true. This is an inclusive environment for everybody, and we are ready and willing to share our culture with anybody.” 

Although Afro has experienced issues in being seen as a “serious” club, they hope to gain more acknowledgement and make sure African-American culture becomes more mainstream. Even in the beginning, their club has struggled with reserving larger spaces and attracting crowds due to their events seeming minimal. In reality, they have been working on building their own stage, lighting setup, making changing rooms, dedicating time to rehearsals, etc. Jayseana voices, “We matter just as much as C-Block or USA. We deserve the same funding. We deserve the same opportunities, because our club is important to the aspect of this school.” 

So, come stop by the Afro club room to get a ticket to this transformational production and be sure to keep an eye out for their next event on April 26, the Afro ball. Invitations are open to all students, encouraging an inclusive and supportive community.

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