Each February, Bryant’s celebration of Black History Month concludes with Extravaganza, a student production showcasing "the light and the beauty that is black history,” said Kayla Navarro ’19, one of this year’s co-directors. “It really makes a difference when you are able to educate and entertain in a positive way. We want to show the Bryant community just how beautiful black history is.”
Extravaganza began more than a decade ago as a fashion show, but its scope has since expanded. Today, “it’s a celebration. It’s a movement. There is a motivational aspect to it,” Navarro said.
“It really makes a difference when you are able to educate and entertain in a positive way."
It's also a show that draws campus-wide student participation, with 120 participating this year. “I had a group of football players tell me they wanted to be in the show,” Navarro said. “I’m happy to see that it has grown the way it has.”
The 2019 theme focused on influential black musical artists throughout American history, from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday in the 1930s and 1940s to contemporary artists like Beyonce. As the show transitioned from one era to the next, the fashions did as well. All the clothes modeled throughout the show – the bell-bottoms of the 1960s and '70s, the leather and baggy clothing of the '90s, and more – were donated by local vendors. Weeks before the show, Navarro and her team scouted local shops to select garments that fit each era. The task was challenging because some garments "are vintage, and pristine items are so hard to find," Navarro said.
Bryant celebrates Black History Month each year with a variety of events, which this year included:
- The Martin Luther King Legacy Dinner honoring the life of the great civil rights leader;
- a career panel featuring alumni of color who offered tips to current students;
- an evening of classic and original spoken word and poetry;
- a presentation by Endia Beal, a North Carolina-based artist and Director of Diggs Gallery, and Assistant Professor of Art at Winston-Salem State University, who shared personal and contemporary stories of women of color working within corporate spaces.