Black History Month culminates in award-winning Extravaganza
Not many programs have the ability to embody the Bryant community the way Extravaganza does. The award-winning multimedia fashion show — the culmination of Bryant's celebration of Black History Month — is produced each year by the Multicultural Student Union.
Extravaganza "is critically important to the University community,” says Kevin Martins, assistant director for the PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion. "More than 80 students come together from various class years, racial and cultural backgrounds, majors, minors and social groups," he says. The cast includes athletes, members of Bryant fraternities and sororities, and commuter and international students.
The theme of each year's show touches on an aspect of black culture. This year’s show, “Silver Screen, Black Excellence,” presented March 3, focused on such movies as Purple Rain, Love and Basketball and Hidden Figures.
Cast member Liz Oluokun '18, described the show as the culmination of "the joy, love, and pride I share during the month of February when blacks all over the country celebrate black culture and what being black means to them. To me, it is a binding force that allows people of different backgrounds, race, and ethnicity on Bryant's campus to celebrate with us as well.”
"I am passionate about social justice and awareness, and the fact that this combines the two in one of the biggest events on campus is really special to me."
The show is completely student-produced. Its directors reach out to clothing boutiques and cosmetology schools to co-sponsor the show. Many in the cast have never modeled before and find the experience to be empowering.
"It’s so cool to see so many people of different majors modeling and being interested in art at Bryant," says Katherine Henao ’18, who was one of this year’s co-directors. "I am passionate about social justice and awareness, and the fact that this combines the two in one of the biggest events on campus is really special to me. It just shows what you can do if you put your mind to something,” she adds. “It’s amazing that people from all different cultures are participating and celebrating their friends.”
Last year's Extravaganza was recognized as the Rhode Island Program of the Year by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. “I was so surprised,” says Henao. “With other schools in the state such as RISD and Brown, it is really cool that Bryant got recognized for arts and fashion.”