Indulge with the Black Student Union and Black Explosion

Black Student Union holds its annual Black Explosion fashion show


UB’s Black Student Union (BSU) made it its mission to showcase black excellence through art, music, dancing and fashion at the Black Explosion fashion show.

BSU’s annual Black Explosion fashion and culture show took place on Feb. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The theme of the show was “Indulgence.” The designers were inspired by famous black artists and incorporated their techniques into their clothing. Over 600 people were in attendance.

Students from UB, Buffalo State, Canisius, Daemen and Medaille sent in their artwork to be displayed around the reception room where the show took place. Before the show and during intermission, people roamed the room looking at all of the pieces.

People were served turkey, spinach salad, roasted potatoes and refreshments before finding their seats.

DJ Zakhype and DJ Duplicate ignited the crowd with some of the top reggae, hip-hop and afro-pop hits before the models came out.

Rashaad Holley and Nnabu Ohia-Enyia are two UB students whose designs were featured in the pre-show that started shortly after 6 p.m.

Holley, a junior marketing major, showcased Fresh Dogs designs. He describes his clothing as “edgy and innovative streetwear.” The Fresh Dogs line took t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies and sweatpants. One of their signature t-shirts is dedicated to the city of Buffalo, with “716” and Buffalo street names on the sleeves.

Ohia-Enyia, a senior health and human services major, incorporated his culture into his clothing. His signature is his bold African prints and colors.

“His clothing was captivating and the colors and prints were very attractive,” said Adline Sarpong, a freshman bioscience major.

BSU then showed its opening video. It started off with one of the e-board members searching through a collection of records. She picked up a record and the music played throughout the background as two other members showcased their love for dancing and painting.

The show opened up with designs by Marie Mack. The artist Larry Poncho Brown, whose work is famous for its bright colors and emphasis on black bodies, inspired Mack’s clothing. Mack’s clothing featured skin-tight dresses and bodysuits in an array of colors. Her fringe blazer and blue and green overalls were crowd pleasers.

Sza, the host of the fashion show, came out to the runway wearing ripped jeans and Timberland boots as the crowd screamed. She then introduced the second designer - Designs by Marco.

Marco’s clothing was inspired by the artist Kara Walker, who’s known for her black and white shadows. Marco’s designs played with quilted patterns and metallics. His black asymmetrical long-sleeve leather dress was a favorite among the crowd.

“I liked [Marco’s] designs, especially the leather overalls,” said Minahil Khan, junior political science major. “The model’s choreography was in sequence with the music.”

The third designer, Jason Adu, brought a wide range of styles to the runway. The artist Kehinde Wiley, known for his realistic portraits and colorful background patterns, inspired Adu’s clothing. Adu’s models came out in different looks, from tie-dye t-shirts to a long black dress with an open back.

Dejuan Styles was the last designer to walk the runway. Styles’ clothing was inspired by Jean Michel-Basquiat’s avant-garde pieces. Basquiat was a Brooklyn native and graffiti artist whose African heritage was vivid in his work.

Styles’ designs ranged from grey jogger sweatpants, a floral printed flare dress, to black and white printed two-piece shirt and pants.

Students performed in between scenes. A pianist and guitarist stood on stage as a violinist surprised the crowd while walking through a side entrance. There was also a solo contemporary dance piece.

As the show went on, Lisa Deabreu, a junior art major, worked on a painting in the back of the reception hall.

“The art theme fits the time we are in right now,” Holley said. “Everyone’s becoming so open with their art and younger people, especially black artists, are bringing their pieces to life.”

BSU ended its Black History Month celebration with an after party at the Pierce Arrow Building on Elmwood Ave.

Ty Adams contributed reporting to this story.

Gabriela Julia is a senior features editor and can be contacted at