African inspired fashion is here to stay in 2016. After New Jersey teen Kyemah McEntyre designed her own handmade gown last year, many other young women have similarly embraced their heritage.
High school student Makalaya Zanders wore a custom-made gown featuring Ankara print to prom May 13. Her Instagram page shows DeAndré Crenshaw designed her dress. The teenager attended Garfield Heights High School’s prom with her date, Charles Jackson in Cleveland, Ohio, according to All Things Ankara.
Zanders wrote about the inspiration to wear the gown on Instagram. She wanted one similar to what Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze wore to a ball. The student challenged a white teacher who thought wearing an African-inspired gown was too “tacky for prom.” Her formal look proved the instructor wrong.
Thank you to everyone who gave me kind words on my prom dress. My date doesn’t have social media so he’s kinda nonchalant lol. The dress came after seeing the beautiful @jessnnecee wearing one similar to a ball. After discussing how beautiful it was and that I would do a african theme with a (Caucasian) teacher I was told it wasn’t really “something you wear to prom/tacky for prom”. Hellbent on proving them wrong and being someone who loves our culture and African glamorous style , me and @indelible_dc decided to take the Ankara dress and put a twist on it. Little did I know it came out more beautiful, then I could’ve ever imagine!! My dress was to make a point. That African style is beautiful. That I am comfortable with my Melanin and roots. And finally that there’s nothing like Black girl Magic❤️
A photo posted by -MK (@_blazemoney) on
The Ohio teen’s dress – which featured a removable futuristic belt – earned praise on Twitter from her peers. But she is not the only young person who wore a culturally expressive gown to the dance this year. The Afrocentric look has taken over the 2016 prom season.
Below is a collection of other young Black women who dared to embrace their African roots for dances all over the country.
Some teens donned more formal looks like Zanders’ mermaid style gown.
Snapchat: misspanddy Hair and makeup by yours truly ofcourse lol. Thank you very much @gee_q_photos for capturing the moments and making her a star last night. Her pictures were all over the Internet yesterday. Over 10 famous accounts on Facebook and Instagram posted about her including @bellanaijaweddings and @idoghana and @africangirlskillingit . Like really. You looked stunning @___royalchild ? #prom2k16 #africanprintpromdress #africanprom @9naijabrides #bellanaijaweddings @myweddingnigeria
A photo posted by Pandita Eta (@misspanddy) on
Others dared to bare in cutout prints and gold head jewelry.
A photo posted by simply_kiesh (@simply_kiesh) on
Crystal Harden used a headpiece and statement necklace to accent her nose ring. Her prom date sported a traditional look, too.
A photo posted by Crystal Harden (@i_get_in_your_head) on
Ghana native Adjoa Ofori-Gyau embraced her roots with her print, accompanied by her natural hair.
A photo posted by Adjoa Ofori-Gyau? (@mz_gyau) on
Bernice Kwade rocked a close-cropped ‘do reminiscent of Nyong’o. The 17-year-old showed off her patterned gown with a bedazzled neckline as she posed with two fellow high school seniors
A photo posted by Bernice Kwade (@bernice_t.aime) on
Another teen made a bold statement in a vibrant red floor length dress.
A photo posted by shaniyah (@harpersworld_) on