Aishamanne Williams, a 17-year-old Brooklyn student, attended her prom in a statement outfit — quite literally. As Teen Vogue reports, the high schooler opted to wear a white dress painted with the portraits of three iconic African American women: singers Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, along with the activist Angela Davis.
To make her custom dress, Williams enlisted the help of the designer Donna Weekes, the mother of her friend, and Nyiesha Mallett, an 11th grader at Williams’ school who sketched the portraits. Each of the three women depicted on the dress are a source of inspiration, Williams told Teen Vogue.
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dress inspired by @mindofkye. the faces on the dress, drawn by @art_est_vita03, are @erykahbadu, Lauryn Hill, and Angela Davis. makeup by @mings.dynasty. an ode to black girls everywhere. (tagging people who inspire me in hopes that they see this and like it lmao) #prom2k18 #medgarmillionairesclub #erykahbadu #laurynhill #angeladavis
“I love Erykah Badu’s music … her spirituality, [and] the way that her energy speaks to mine,” she said. “Listening to her music and her words makes me feel at home, so I wanted to pay homage to her for making black girls like me feel loved and represented. Lauryn Hill’s unapologetic blackness has always inspired me as well; I’ve admired her skillful lyricism and soulful music since my childhood. I’ve also learned a lot from Angela Davis. I consider myself to be an intersectional feminist, and from studying her words and life, I’ve learned a lot about feminism, race, and class.”
Williams noted that it was important to her to honor “inspirational, radical, unapologetically honest black women.” Naturally, her classmates voted her best dressed at the prom.
Read the full story at Teen Vogue.