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Ohio Teen Ditches White Teacher’s Advice Who Said African Print Is ‘Too Tacky for Prom’ and Joins #AfricanProm Trend

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African inspired fashion is here to stay in 2016. After New Jersey teen Kyemah McEntyre designed her own handmade gown last year, many other young women have similarly embraced their heritage.

High school student Makalaya Zanders wore a custom-made gown featuring Ankara print to prom May 13. Her Instagram page shows DeAndré Crenshaw designed her dress. The teenager attended Garfield Heights High School’s prom with her date, Charles Jackson in Cleveland, Ohio, according to All Things Ankara.

Zanders wrote about the inspiration to wear the gown on Instagram. She wanted one similar to what Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze wore to a ball. The student challenged a white teacher who thought wearing an African-inspired gown was too “tacky for prom.” Her formal look proved the instructor wrong.

Thank you to everyone who gave me kind words on my prom dress. My date doesn't have social media so he's kinda nonchalant lol. The dress came after seeing the beautiful @jessnnecee wearing one similar to a ball. After discussing how beautiful it was and that I would do a african theme with a (Caucasian) teacher I was told it wasn't really "something you wear to prom/tacky for prom". Hellbent on proving them wrong and being someone who loves our culture and African glamorous style , me and @indelible_dc decided to take the Ankara dress and put a twist on it. Little did I know it came out more beautiful, then I could've ever imagine!! My dress was to make a point. That African style is beautiful. That I am comfortable with my Melanin and roots. And finally that there's nothing like Black girl Magic❤️

A photo posted by -MK (@_blazemoney) on

The Ohio teen’s dress – which featured a removable futuristic belt – earned praise on Twitter from her peers. But she is not the only young person who wore a culturally expressive gown to the dance this year. The Afrocentric look has taken over the 2016 prom season.

Below is a collection of other young Black women who dared to embrace their African roots for dances all over the country.

Some teens donned more formal looks like Zanders’ mermaid style gown.

Others dared to bare in cutout prints and gold head jewelry.

Crystal Harden used a headpiece and statement necklace to accent her nose ring. Her prom date sported a traditional look, too.

Me and my date tonight ?????#dashiki #prom2k16

A photo posted by Crystal Harden (@i_get_in_your_head) on

Ghana native Adjoa Ofori-Gyau embraced her roots with her print, accompanied by her natural hair.

Now to the prom stuff… #africanqueen ?? #africanprintpromdress #prom2k16

A photo posted by Adjoa Ofori-Gyau? (@mz_gyau) on

Bernice Kwade rocked a close-cropped ‘do reminiscent of Nyong’o. The 17-year-old showed off her patterned gown with a bedazzled neckline as she posed with two fellow high school seniors.

#prom2k16 #africanprom #slay #perfection #classof2016 #seniors #pfsj

A photo posted by Bernice Kwade (@bernice_t.aime) on

And one 16-year-old ditched pairing her two-piece look with conventional high heels in favor of blue Reeboks.

Another teen made a bold statement in a vibrant red floor length dress.

??#norlandprom2k16 #Prom2k16 #africanprom

A photo posted by shaniyah (@harpersworld_) on

What people are saying

30 thoughts on “Ohio Teen Ditches White Teacher’s Advice Who Said African Print Is ‘Too Tacky for Prom’ and Joins #AfricanProm Trend

  1. Awesomeness doll

  2. I like the way they were dressed 🙂

  3. Ray Marone says:

    Your mine tell you to be who you are, and you should follow that thougth and embrace your culture deeply. You will all ways have something to remember for life. All of the dresses that I saw were beautiful and elegant, and I am proud of all of these young ladies.

  4. Ossie Sharon says:

    Beautiful, each and every one 🙂

  5. DaNae Somsen says:

    Her dress is beautiful!

  6. Good on them, but I have to admit that I was born too early. Teenage girls didn't look like that when I was a teen

  7. I THINK IT LOOKS GREAT,,,,,BETTER THAN SOME OF THESE HAUTE COUTURE CRAP…

  8. Xavier Shaw says:

    Beautiful dress. Proud that our girls and women are embracing some aspects of our African ancestry.

  9. PERHAPS the Dutch, Chinese and other (exploitation prints) passing as African prints are,, BUT certainly NOT the authentically dyed African Fabric or hand woven material.

  10. That teacher was the tacky one!!! and probably a lot of other things that would be tacky for me to say in public…

  11. Gorgeous gowns the lot of them but… sweet jesus that red one tho. It is just… damn. Then again, I love red so of course it would be my fav.

  12. Rose Benitez says:

    Her Dress is Gorgeous. How can I order one

  13. There is Nothing dumb About the dress. Besides, you do not have to like it or wear it!! Bye!

  14. Donna Johnson

    I share your observation and your tailor’s opinion about the ‘African’ textile industries.
    I get a good feeling when I see our People in African Attire and I feel better when it comes from the Hearts and Hands of my People. Not only does it help to feed and clothe the people but it helps to keep the rare and wonderful Art alive.

    I have been wearing, at least, a piece every day for many years (the shirt below my chin in the picture here, is pebble-tied Ade're from Abeokuta Nigeria). I once traded in African Traditional Fabrics, Fashion and Body Adornments – (an exciting recovery being a Bajan) and my passion for it is still growing even though I am no longer Trading.

    In attempt to answer your question: “How can Africans do a better job of getting their goods to the market….” etc..I will say your question is part of the Bigger question: How can Africans benefit from their Riches the same as other Nations do? I answer with an Adage…a ‘River that forgets its Source dries-up’. We have to Love the Essence and Substance of what we ARE.
    There is an imposition of European Culture in our Psyche that disable us from function in our, own, self-interest.
    Self-Love and Publicity would help.

  15. All of the dresses/gowns are beautiful. I eally like African attire andlike being unique myself. I would have one the African gown to the event too.

  16. Doni Hagan says:

    You should've grown up in Chicago! WE had serious cuties!! 🙂

  17. All of the dresses/gowns are beautiful. I really like African attire and like being unique myself. I would have wore the African gown to the event too.

  18. Such nasty replies. I said people should wear what they choose, but apparently that was not enough and does not change the fact that the dresses here just seem if not tacky, than awfully loud for a Prom.

    I came here because of a link on my news feed, which had the article title here, which is indeed obnoxious. It couldn't have simply stated that a student ignored a teacher's advice, instead it had to play the race card.

    Don't you think you might have had a negative reaction if you had seen a headline indicating a white person had to in essence struggle to overcome black disparagement?

    The article is a little unclear about how this occurred. If the student asked the teacher's opinion, she ought to pay attention or else refrain from asking. And if the teacher simply tried to advise, well then its fine to ignore it, but surely the teacher's opinion is as valid as anyone else's.

    It just seems the tenor of the article is to attempt to set up a straw man and then be self congratulatory when it falls. Apparently no one here will brook any opinion that diverges from the group thought, or that causes anyone to think at all.

    Seems I've already wasted too much time on a trivial pursuit.

  19. Mike Dudnikov smh there's always gotta be an whole ass somewhere! Congrats!! If you didn't have anything nice to say then you shouldn't hv commented at all but maybe you just needed the attention!

  20. Lisa Draper
    OH no Lisa, I am not Criticising these Wellmeaning young People who are Rediscovering and Recovering their heretage…I am speaking Economics and taste. The garments these young people are wearing, though prints, ane African design and style. Goodness is Goodness and whatever comes from Goodness is Good.

  21. Lisa Draper says:

    With all of their efforts, with them covering their bodies, and with them acknowledging and honoring their history,you must not realize how that came across because I'm certain that you would not intentionally criticize these children for their efforts to honor their African heritage.May GOD bless you with peace.

  22. Wow! They look amazing! I love the beautifully printed fabrics!

  23. That teacher should be banned from teaching cause she is an idiot and im so glad that the students wore such beautiful prom clothes to their prom.

  24. not suprised a jew would take this position

  25. Tina Ferguson Nice for you to make certain assumptions and reveal your sick hate.

    It will be interesting to see if anyone condemns your perverse mind. I am hopeful. Too many wonderful black folks in this world.

  26. Kemo Sabe says:

    Beautiful girl, beautiful dress…what seems to be the problem?

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