Attendees of the Black Student Union’s 54th annual Black Explosion were dressed to impress in sequin dresses, tuxedos and tulle dresses.
BSU treasurer Jewel Moore said that Black Explosion is UB’s version of the Met Gala — and she’s only half-joking.
“One of the best things about Black Explosion, in my personal opinion, is the fact that you get to see everybody come out in their outfits,” Moore, a sophomore communication major, said. “That’s definitely the most exciting part, seeing what people come up with.”
The show is a staple for BSU, bringing together students and alumni to appreciate Black culture and expressive attire.
The theme of this year’s show was “Mosaic: Collections of the Divine,” which BSU activity coordinator Ashley Mathieu says allowed creators to showcase Black art, something Mathieu was personally interested in.
“We decided to celebrate Black artists who helped shape our current visual culture and share their art on the runway,” Matheiu, a senior public health major, said. “Our show is meant to be a love letter to underrepresented creatives in the art space. We wanted to give designers, dancers and other Black artists the space and freedom to exhibit their work and creativity.”
The show, hosted by social media content creator D1Pop, kicked off with the UB Gospel Choir’s performance of “Lift Every Voice.”
The models walked the runway, seamlessly twirling and shaking each other’s hands as they went. That execution took a lot of practice to nail down. The models worked on their chemistry and poses with model coordinators Derric Jordan, Imani Bailey, Isaac O and Janelle Addo.
The show featured looks inspired by artistic movements such as Surrealism, Afro-futurism, Romanticism, and Neo-Expressionism. At the direction of their designers, some models incorporated a skit or dance into their walks.
In between runways, performance groups such as 8 Count, Crossfyah and Step Troupe took to the stage, all dancing energetically.
During 8 Count’s performance, dancers took off black, long-sleeved shirts and skirts to reveal white tops — emblazoned with their names — and gold shorts.
“I loved all of the outfits. I loved all of the designers,” Amara Fauntleroy, a junior health and human services major, said. “When [Step Troupe] did their steps, I felt it in my heart, my soul, it was powerful.”
Toward the end of the show, each e-board member graced the runway, modeling their outfits. BSU undergraduate advisors Micah Moore and Polo Ramone announced their entries and shared touching sentiments about each of them.BSU President Sanyia Julien became emotional as she talked about first joining the organization, her growth and how much she’ll miss BSU after graduating.
She thanked the audience, the other executive board members and the undergraduate advisors for coming. The latter were called onto the runway by Julien and stood beside her as she held a moment of silence in remembrance of a BSU member who had passed away.
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