Student-led club to recognize African heritage in 25th annual fashion show

April is here, and it’s almost time for the annual fashion show put on by Liberty University’s Association of Students of African Descent(s).   

This year’s show will be one of “jubilee” as ASAD celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Vines Center Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. This production has been in the works since the beginning of the fall semester, and members of ASAD’s executive board are excited.

“We basically eat, sleep and breathe ASAD,” an executive board member and model coach, Angel Udofia, said.

Udofia, alongside Ronnie Gaymon and Cameron Fitzpatrick, have been training over 20 new models to walk the stage and represent African culture. The models receive 40 CSER hours for their hard work; however, the board members and model coaches do this because they believe fashion is a powerful way to educate the world and show that Africa is not just what is seen in movies and documentaries.

The show itself will have four walks, each telling its own story and representing an era of African history and accomplishment. The first is called “Kingdoms,” and it represents the different tribes of Africa. The second walk is called “Liberation,” representing the freedom Africa has fought so hard for and the achievements such as Nobel Peace Prizes and female presidents that it has stacked up over the years.

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The third walk is named “Triumphant,” which speaks to what Africa has overcome as a continent and how it has been victorious over oppressors. Finally, the fourth walk is “Radiance,” which captures the sheer beauty of fashion designs and the joy of ASAD’s 25th year. Together, all four walks paint the narrative of where Africa came from and how it has evolved over time. 

The mind behind the magic is ASAD’s president, Hatangimana Lea, who has led the team without a vice president for the past year and a half. The president and vice president usually write ASAD’s fashion show, but this year, Lea wrote it single-handedly. Last year’s themes were “Revival” and “The Comeback of ASAD” after the association was nonexistent for an entire semester. Looking back over the years, Lea decided that this year’s goal is to celebrate how far ASAD has come and to choose a theme of joy and celebration, dubbing this year’s show “Jubilee” just in time for its 25th anniversary. Jubilee represents the year of release, a time when you can feel proud of your accomplishments.

But that is not the only thing that has changed. The president emphasized that this show will break the mold of preconceived notions about her home.

“Something that’s different this year in what we’re doing is that we’re going to have an education aspect to the show, where people will get to learn about the different parts of Africa,” Lea said.

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Audience members come to the show to see clothes, but Lea hopes they leave having also learned something.

When all is said and done, teamwork remains the biggest factor in this production. Everyone involved did not hesitate to point out that it took all of them working together, figuring things out and facing challenges head on. 

Lea credits the Holy Spirit as her biggest source of support. She says the process is difficult, but there is purpose in it because God’s hand shines clearly in everything the team has done so far.

“There is purpose in the position that I’m in; there is purpose in all of the executive board members’ roles; there is purpose in the models; there is purpose in the dancers; there is purpose in the lights, camera and action. All of it,” Lea said.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the link in ASAD’s Instagram bio @libertyasad.

Barber is a feature reporter for The Champion

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