by Samantha Stout, PWHS Class of 2022

As a Black student who attends Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PW), I feel as though the Black Cultural Awareness Club (BCA) is an inspiration and a very important part of our school. They’ve not only raised thousands of dollars for charities and scholarships for Black youth in our community, but they also provide guidance to Black students and give them a chance to talk about important issues regarding race.

The BCA recently raised money for Lupus Foundation of America and the BCA scholarship fund by hosting the Ade Shades of Brown, a fashion show that promotes representation for Black students and gives them a chance to support and have fun with each other. Along with promoting local Black-owned businesses, the club emphasized the importance of Black culture and being confident in all shades of brown. 

Two men on stage wearing sportswear

Scene from the Black Cultural Awareness Club's Ade Shades of Brown Fashion Show.

Students in the BCA, and sponsors Kim Williams and PW teacher Ms. Edwards, work hard trying to make a change in our District by having more representation for Black students, raising money for charities and causes for Blacks and African Americans, and providing education about race issues. Their leadership committee meets weekly to organize and plan events like the fashion show. Other memorable and successful events they’ve hosted include the annual BCA Toy Drive in December and the Unity Walk in February.  

“It’s so important to attend and advocate for events like the fashion show, whether that’s through music, clothing,” says PW senior and BCA President Luwam Teklegiorgis. “Just being at an event where it’s predominantly Black is all important.”

Although the show does an excellent job showing off our community’s businesses, the club also does a wonderful job showing how vital it is to celebrate and appreciate Black culture. It’s incredibly important for not just other cultures, but for Black people to support, celebrate, and love themselves. The Ade Shades of Brown Fashion Show is an inspiration to be able to have the community see Blacks, and especially Black youth, come together and be confident.

Head BCA sponsor Kim Williams says, “In our club, the main focus that we try to inspire in BCA is sister and brotherhood, not just during the school year, but outside the school year.” 

While simultaneously raising money for scholarships and the Lupus Awareness Foundation, the BCA promotes and gives recognition to local Black-owned businesses in our community. COVID has been hitting business hard for the past few years, making it especially hard to get new customers and recognition. By using word of mouth and personal connections, members of the BCA reached out to people they know to invite them to advertise and sell their products before, during, and after the fashion show.

Black-owned businesses at tables in the PWHS cafeteria

Black-owned businesses in the PWHS cafeteria

Businesses like Three-Way Apparel, Beyond Blessed, Dream Fit, and Go Channel were able to showcase their unique designs, while also having Black performers singing and dancing on stage and even in the audience. Before the show and during intermission, you were welcome to purchase products like waistbeads, bags, jewelry, herbal tea, and food. 

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks your tissues and organs, causing inflammation and damage to your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus affects more than five million people worldwide, however it is more common in African Americans. It’s important to have fundraisers and events to show our support to the victims and families struggling in our community. 

 Events like the Ade Shades of Brown Fashion Show help bring more representation for the Black students in the District, and raise awareness and support for families in our community. Black people have every right to come together to celebrate themselves, and the BCA does a great job inspiring students to create those opportunities. 

Check out more photos from the event:


woman at table selling jewelry