Models explore African roots

T'Nerra Butler, Staff Reporter

Members of Glamourize Ladies and Men Modeling took lingering strides on a T-shaped runway in remembrance of their African roots on Saturday in the University

Kendall Jackson, a member of GLAM’s fashion troupe, poses in the Untold Truth: We Are Kings and Queens fashion show in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Sat. in the Grand Ballroom.
Kevin Hall
Kendall Jackson, a member of GLAM’s fashion troupe, poses in the Untold Truth: We Are Kings and Queens fashion show in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Sat. in the Grand Ballroom.

Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The Untold Truth: We are Kings and Queens began the show with models walking and posing down the aisles of the audience.

The models used the entire room for this act; several models remained on stage clothed in all black with tribal fabric wrapped around their waist, dancing to a remixed version of Beyoncé’s “Run the World.”

Hosts Chris Hightower and Stephanie Jenkins revealed to the audience what each scene prevailed.

The second scene, titled “King Pres,” opened with the president of GLAM, Kendall Jackson, on the center of the stage with his back toward the audience clothed in African wear.

“King Pres” depicted the capture of African-Americans and their arrival to America. As Jackson took pursuit downstage, models threw flowers in his pathway.

Students presented live performances throughout the show.

Deja Dade, a freshman theater major, was the first performer and prepared a monologue as if she were a girl living in Africa.

“If someone ever makes you feel that you are unworthy, stick your chest out and bring your chin up and tell them excuse me for not being pale,” Dade said during the monologue. “Little African girl, you are diamonds and pearls, rubies and sapphires. You are a Queen.”

Dade said she used life experiences to get into character.

“When Kendall told me it was inspired by kings and queens, I actually knew this lady in a braid shop who would tell me stories when I was younger about Egyptian kings and queens, I embodied that as if were her daughter,” Dade said.

A scene titled “Pretty Hurts” explored African people being uncultured and deprived because of their captures. Three models remained posed in the center of the room in graceful gowns, while others scaled around the sides.

Tiara Pillow, a senior communication studies major, and Destiny Winford, a senior family consumer sciences major, presented a creative piece called “And They Think.”

This performance intertwined song and spoken word, which described black violence and misguidance with lines like,

“36 people killed in a weekend, every victim the same color skin,” and “taught by a society that plans for our demise.”

During the intermission, the models strutted through the entire Ballroom to a dance routine to Ciara’s “Gimme Dat.”

Jackson ended the scene with a vogue death drop, which is where the model drops into a pose on the ground with one leg behind them and one leg stretched out.

Throughout the show, three walk-offs occurred where the host rounded up two people from the audience; one called for men, one called for women and one for children.

The last scene, titled “Glory,” told a story of how African-Americans can overcome and thrive to become successful in America.

Two male models were shirtless and sported shackles on their wrists. Models in this scene were in dresses and one male model put on props that resembled an Egyptian Pharaoh. The scene ended with a fist of black power then a bow.

The models all came back out with the last scene’s outfit and danced.

Jackson gave a departure speech thanking the models and summing up the show’s significance.

“Everyone on this stage has been through a journey,” Jackson said.

Aaliyah Morgan, a freshman biology major, said GLAM makes a difference.

“GLAM doesn’t have a set look; it welcomes anyone who is willing to put forth the effort to do what it takes to be a good model,” Morgan said. “It helps with character building because you’re able to take constructive criticism and make your weaknesses your strengths.”

Some of the model-wear sported came from Christopher & Banks in Mattoon and fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric.

Shakya Jarrett, a junior sociology major, said this is her fourth show with GLAM.

“(GLAM) is truly amazing; I don’t know if I’ll find something else in life this fun because we are the center of attention,” Jarrett said. “It’s definitely an ego-booster.”

Charré Armstrong, an audience member and Charleston resident, said the show was refreshing, inviting and inspiring because of the show’s theme.

“It was a reminder of how you should remember your place in this world despite how social media may display things because of people’s narrow mind sets.” Armstrong said. “You are someone and this was a celebration of being great—being kings and queens—and this show was a great explanation of that.”

Shaniyah Meyes, a freshman psychology major, said this was the perfect time for GLAM to show African-American pride.

“Transition through a time from kings and queens to us treated merely as nothing is something to tell,” Meyes said. “We are becoming more than what we have been.”

Looking back, Jackson said he was in awe of the entire show, which will also be his final bow as president of GLAM.

“I’ve been working on this show for almost two years and my vision has come to life,” Jackson said. “My goal was to have the audience feel everything, every emotion.”


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].