When New Jersey teen Kyemah McEntyre decided to make a home-made gown for prom, she probably received quite a few raised brows and eye rolls. But when she showed up in a piece that could have stolen the show at New York Fashion Week, there was only a collection of jaws hitting the floor.
The 18-year-old decided to sketch her own design for the prom and highlighted her natural beauty and colorful culture by making a stunning silhouette with a traditional African print.
The dress featured full-length sleeves and a plunging neckline that was crafted to perfection thanks to a local seamstress by the name of Markell.
The bold colors and clean form were enough to have McEntyre standing out as a fashion frontrunner, but her minimalistic accessorizing and natural hair choice pulled the piece together in a way that was simply unbelievable.
She paired the look with a gold choker and a headdress that has some wondering if she borrowed the piece from Wonder Woman herself.
A dark lip allowed the colors of the dress to shine without much competition and a beautiful afro up top completed the entire look.
The complete ensemble is proof that Parsons the New School for Design may be welcoming a freshman that has the potential to become just as internationally renowned as its other alumni—a group that includes Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan.
But there was something even more beautiful than McEntyre herself, although she was certainly a knockout in the gorgeous ensemble.
The message, however, was the most incredible thing of all.
When the teen snapped a picture of her look for Instagram she captioned it, “This is for always being labeled as, ‘ugly’ or ‘angry.’ Thank God, stereotypes are just opinions.”
While McEntyre has almost certainly faced those kinds of harsh criticisms on a personal level, the caption and the overall design seemed to be more than a dig at high school haters. It was a powerful jab, uppercut and high-kick combo being delivered to a society that has worked tirelessly to convince Black women that neither they, nor their culture, are beautiful.
All the European beauty standards that convince Black women to shun their natural hair or dress in more traditionally European styles were all shut down as McEntyre underscored the true beauty of her own roots.
And for the students who were slapping the teenage beauty with stereotypical labels, their voices mattered not. McEntyre ended her special night by being crowned the prom queen.
So take that, white-washed standards of beauty.