The inaugural “Colors of Greatness” fashion show was a cultural showcase for African-American heritage, supported by Valencia’s Bridges to Success program. By focusing on more than just fashion, those in attendance were treated to much more than a clothing expo.
“We wanted to put on an event that was inspiring as well as entertaining,” said event coordinator Andrey Alexander. The timing of the show honors the cultural additions of African-Americans and important figures of Black History Month such as Nelson Mandela.
“Colors of Greatness” was attended in high numbers and had several models displaying everything from club attire to formal business-wear. The organizers also had different forms of artistic expression featured thought the event including dance groups, poetry, spoken word speeches and an acoustical musical performance.
“The spoken word was awesome; that’s a great way to get the word out and still entertain,” said audience member Brianna Davis. This spoken word speech, written by Jason Alexander, was a fast paced assault on the devastating issue of AIDS and it’s effect on the family and the community. While going through detailed statistics on the disease, he would say something controversial then immediately sliding into a joke to break any tension.
“I tend to have a message in my poems, have an overall theme and point out specific things that I’m talking about.” Alexander is a graduate from FAMU, and wants to be a motivational speaker helping young students make better choices in life.
Despite a critical failure in her microphone, psychology student Khandy Graydon touchingly performed “Killing Me Softly” on her acoustic guitar. Undaunted and unplugged, she didn’t skip a beat, and the audience sang along softly in return with the catchy melody.
“I just thought to myself, I’m not even going to use the mic, I’m just gonna sing” said Graydon. She has performed live music at several venues over the past two years, including Club 57 West.
The fashion show then went underway with a wide array of brightly colored and practically designed styles from local vendors like “Created 4 Fashion” and “Chunky Fine” offering clothing designed to make a woman feel beautiful, no matter what size they are. Many in attendance were raving about the hot colored heels and other modern designer shoes featured along with the clothing.
Another highlight of the fashion show was a showcase by Men’s Wearhouse of sharp and coordinated business attire for the young college graduate looking to enter the workforce. They presented darker and more formal styles for a sharper look for a big job interview, and also a looser look, with more earth tones for casual business attire, for when you have secured the position in the future.
“I loved the modeling, I want to be a model myself so I was watching everybody,” said physical therapy student Mideline Daceus.
After the models did their final walk and the show was over, Bridges founder and manager John Stover presented event organizer Andrey Alexander with an award from the African-American cultural society for her actions, and tying this event into cultural awareness with Black History Month.