Black Arts Fest 2023

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Correction: Endia Scales is the Black Student Union (BSU) President Layout by Dora Kreitzer ’25 and Kelsey Werkheiser ’25, Print Managing Editor and News Co-Editor.

Kelsey Werkheiser and Sal Iovino

Kicking off Black Arts Fest 2023, Bucknell’s Black Student Union (BSU) hosted their annual fashion show, titled “Rep Ya’ Set” this year, on Feb. 24. A runway is erected in Larison dining hall, surrounded by a sea of chairs for the audience, as well as refreshments and room for photo opportunities. The event has a mandatory formal dress code to emulate the formality of a professional fashion show.

The BSU fashion show gives a chance for black students to look and feel their best on stage, and take in all of the applause and praise of their peers. Each “scene” of the show was centered around a specific theme, allowing the designers of each scene to showcase their artistic choices. Each of the designers would come out onto the runway after their scene, and many featured in their own scene as well.

The show was emceed by Shelby May ‘23 and Azhani Duncan-Reese ‘23, who would return between each scene to introduce the next one. In the nature of the show, the two hosts also had an outfit change during intermission. 

The first scene was titled “Traperton,” designed by Krystell Ewing ‘24 and Myra Anigbo ‘24. The outfits took inspiration from the high-society style of English clothing, featuring bright whites, lace parasols, floral details, powdered wigs and ball gowns. The next scene was “Statuesque,” by Oluwasefunmi Oluwafemi ‘25 and Naomi Malone ‘25.

The last scene of the first half was titled “Bad & Boujee,” by the same designers of “Traperton.” The scene featured clean, professional-style clothing such as suit jackets, and some elements showcasing pops of color to emphasize the “boujee” theme. 

The first scene following intermission was “Knits & Knots,” by Allure Cooper ‘23, which featured different pieces of crocheted clothing. Next was “We Do It Better,” by James Andradas ‘23, which was centered around 90s street clothes such as puffer vests and Nirvana band tees. 

The final scene was titled “Black Boy Joy” by Q Andrews ‘24, featuring bright and soft colors on all male models. In conjunction with the music being played, there were recordings of multiple men’s answers to questions such as “What does black boy joy mean to you?”

The fashion show came to an end with BSU President Endia Scales coming out on stage, joined by other executive members.

In addition to the Fashion Show, BSU also hosted their annual “Stomp Out Classic” on Feb. 25 in the Weis Center.  Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities from across local universities convinced to participate in the tradition of stepping, a dance performance ritual that is unique to each individual organization. 

Notably the Bucknell chapters of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. as well as the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority performed as well as the Bisonettes, much to the enjoyment and encouragement of Bucknellians in the crowd.  The sisters of Delta Sigma Theta were awarded with the top performance of the night for a powerful routine that incorporated many elements of the BLM protests that rose to prominence in 2020 and 2021.

When asked to comment on the impact of Black Arts Fest on the Bucknell community as well as her role in its organization and production, Black Student Union President Endia Scales ‘24 said Black Arts Fest is BSU’s biggest event of the year. 

“It gives all Black students a chance to get involved and help showcase our Black art, creativity, and talent to the Bucknell community,” Scales said. “Planning for Black Arts Fest as President this year has been hectic to say the least. I think everyone involved is always looking forward to finally seeing the pieces come together and I’m so proud of everyone. Black Arts Fest is my favorite time of year at Bucknell. We don’t get many events at Bucknell that are catered to us and our culture, and Black Arts Fest allows us to see and appreciate ourselves and how we show up at Bucknell and of course have fun.”

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