On Friday, March 2nd, 2018, Bryant University’s Multicultural Student Union will be hosting Extravaganza, a student-produced fashion show that honors Black History Month. The event will be held in the Multipurpose Athletic Center (MAC) at 6 PM. Each year the theme is different, ranging from the #BlackLivesMatter movement to black female empowerment, to the African diaspora, yet the concept remains the same; stressing the significance and importance of black history and black excellence through fashion.  

This year’s show will be hosted by two of Bryant’s most involved and cherished seniors, Katherine Henao and Alex Ortiz. The two are both actively involved with the Multicultural Student Union on campus and have decided direct Extravaganza together this year for various reasons. In interviews with them both, their passion for this year’s show undoubtedly came to the surface. In an interview with Alex, I inquired about her reasoning for playing such a significant role in Extravaganza this year. Her response was “I decided to codirect Extravaganza this year because I wanted to accomplish something big my final year. In fact, I have been a part of Extravaganza all four years of my college career. My first two years here I was a scene leader, and then my junior year I was the head, backstage manager. Looking back, I am so glad that participated because I was able to experience all aspects of the wonderful production. I also wanted to run the show this year because of my love for production and entertainment in general. My dream job is to be the creative director for a music tour. Combining my interest and passion to highlight black excellence is what truly motivated me to co-direct this year’s show.”  

I separately interviewed Katherine about why she decided to co-host this year. She stated, “I originally became involved with Extravaganza my sophomore year as a model. At first, I was filling in for a friend and was unsure what to expect, but then I fell in love. There is so much passion behind this show. The fact that art and Black History Month are merged together to create magic really inspired me. Also, I’ve always loved fashion, so it was no question that I would equally love directing a fashion show. Attending a predominantly white institution is another reason that I decided to become involved, to push forth social justice and reveal the importance of black history. Not only does Extravaganza celebrate Black History Month and fashion, but it highlights all the talented and diverse students we have here at Bryant. This show reveals that although many of us are business students, there is true art in all of us.” 

The purpose of Extravaganza is to bring the entire Bryant community together in honoring Black History Month and celebrating the beauty that lies within black culture. It showcases and highlights influential black figures, moments, movements, movies, and so much more, and does this through the fashion artform. This year’s show is going to be spectacular, as Alex Ortiz and Katherine Henao have worked extremely hard to put it together. Come out and support your fellow Bryant students as they model amazing outfits and promote black excellence this year at Extravaganza.

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Hello! My name is Elana Williams-Leonard and I am a senior pursuing a bachelor's in Literary and Cultural Studies with a concentration in Applied Psychology. My minors include Business Administration, Communication, and Africana/Black Studies. On campus, I am a Writing Consultant in the Academic Center for Excellence, a Resident Assistant, a MyPath mentor, and an active member in the Multicultural Student Union Organization. My life's goal is to educate people about the importance of acceptance, diversity and love. I try to accomplish some of that through writing, whether it be in my free time or here at The Archway. I really hope you enjoy my articles!