West’s first Walk it Out sets a high bar

Over 60 West High students showed off their work in putting together a multi-cultural fashion show on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Cameron Cook

The lights dimmed in the West High cafeteria as Yiwen Gao and Sarah Ahmed, both seniors, took the stage. Together, they explained what the audience was about to see; more than 60 models from five different cultural groups, dancing, music and more.

De'Ja Bunyan '17 struts on the stage to Beyoncé's "Formation."
De’Ja Bunyan ’17 struts onstage to Beyoncé’s
“Formation.” (Cameron Cook)

The performance started out with fashion from East Asia, then moved into South Asia and the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and finally gave the audience a look at African-American culture throughout the past century.

One of the highlights of the show was the inclusion of students that didn’t belong to the cultures they were representing.

“I think that just shows the message we’re trying to preach,” Gao, Walk it Out’s president, said. “Even if you aren’t a specific ethnicity, you can still appreciate it, understand it and love it.”

In addition, some students modeled several times, representing different cultural groups. Eman Elsheikh ’19 modeled for both East Asia and Africa.

“It was cool getting to be part of a group that I’m actually not culturally a part of,” she said. “It was cool to see how they dress and how intricate the designs were and how much effort actually goes into just putting the stuff on.”

Another highlight of the show was a solemn tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement at the end of the African-American culture segment.

Damarius Levi ’19 was part of the segment and thought the purpose was to generate awareness.

“We just really wanted everyone to see that black lives really do matter,” Levi said. “And we wanted to express it in a way where we could let the community know.”

He thinks that the audience understood and received the message well.

“I’m hoping… that everyone hopefully got the message. Because it’s a message that I feel like everyone needs to know. I’m pretty sure lots of people are aware of the Black Lives Matter movement and I just think that most of the crowd–I hope the entire crowd–received it very well.”

Damarius Levi '19 and Jade Merriwether '17 hold up pictures of African-Americans unjustly killed.
Damarius Levi ’19 and Jade Merriwether ’17 hold up pictures of African-Americans unjustly killed.

Overall, the organizers and models were happy with the performance.

“[It was] great. I’m so happy,” Gao said.