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Going Out With a Bang at the BHM Fashion Show

by Reggie Goudeau

Features Editor


The Black History Month fashion show has been a tradition close to Oberlin’s Black community since before I even attended here. This event is normally handled by the Black History Month Committee and frequently associated with the Afrikan Heritage House. The show often features student-made outfits acquired through ethical and environmentally-conscious needs. This one in particular had a sale following the event featuring outfits from this and previous fashion shows. As the description provided on the Afrikan Heritage House’s Instagram page mentions, the event “provides participants with an opportunity to express and celebrate themselves and their beauty.” It is a beautiful expression of Black joy, queerness, and beauty in a eurocentric society, and an exciting time every year. With all of this in mind, I was honored that fourth-year Evyn Lundy asked me to be the show’s opener this year.

I’ll admit, I was more than nervous to be performing at my biggest venue since Solarity. I did not get to practice my set nearly enough beforehand, and only saw the stage I’d perform on the day of the program. Even with these obstacles, I still felt excited amid my anxieties. Arriving early that day to see the stage and many of my friends adorned in immaculate outfits was also pretty encouraging. It was more than difficult to run over the lyrics to all three of my songs while making conversation and trying to maintain my poker face. Still, I persevered and managed to give a performance that I and many of the audience enjoyed. While I did admittedly choose popular songs from my discography to make my life easier, that did not lessen the intro’s quality. After all, everyone turns up to R.E.G upon hearing those first few notes of “Goal Post.”

Illustration by Molly Chapin, Production Assistant

The remainder of the program after I completed my set was beautiful in atmosphere and in a literal sense. Lance Gulley’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was a fantastic follow-up, with just the right amount of trembling in his vocals (particularly with the line “bright as the listening sky”). I felt it prepared everybody in the audience and the models wonderfully for what was to come. What I felt was the best showcase of music that evening was easily the performance by OCBMG. Their wide variety of instrumentalists and vocalists each brought a great contribution to their set of three songs. The first of these featured themes prominent in Black musical tradition, such as exhaustion and endless work. The bassist and trumpet player here were also beautiful. OCBMG’s second song was much lighter, and also quite sensual with a nostalgic instrumental. The drums dropping about a minute into the track were a nice touch, and the band members here particularly shined during many back and forth moments of ad-libbing.The third song began with crisp drumming to lead into their wonderful closer, a rendition of Lizzo’s “About Damn Time.” The two vocalists’ (Lance and Inayah Raheem) contrasting pitches and vocal flourishes added a great flair to the track, especially combined with the live music. I was also astounded to see a flute solo during this performance, which was a clever nod to Lizzo’s real-life ability to play it.

The MCs at these events are always a treat, and alumni Diwe Augustin-Glave, a former resident of A House, more than lived up to the expectations of those before. They both looked great, and introduced each theme well. Speaking of which, everyone looked gorgeous no matter what category their outfit was in, which was also a great reflection of this year’s theme. Said theme this year was “Woven, Worn, and Reborn,” a nod towards sustainability and how many of the pieces of outfits for this and previous fashion shows were acquired by thrifting. Some of my favorite sections from memory were the one with everyone in ballroom attire, the student-made section (featuring a beautiful money dress and separate outfit with repurposed pom poms) and the one featuring all-denim.

Aside from the event starting a little late (which should not be held against my fellow Black people during BHM), everyone did their part here. The sound and livestream were smooth, the performers were engaging, and the models all looked gorgeous. I couldn’t have asked for a better note to leave Oberlin on, and I’m proud to have contributed to it, no matter the impact’s size.

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