By Rosa Bogar
October 21, 2012, was declared “Black Fashion History Day” by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. When the governor’s Proclamation was read by “fashion enthusiast” Roger Clark to the crowd gathered at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis that Sunday evening, it brought down the house with thunderous applause.
The event was historic, memorable, and enjoyed by all who attended. The emcee was Carol Payne, who also moderated the panel discussion with panelists Rozenia Hoodfuller, a former model; Jewelean Jackson, former director of the Ms. Black MN Pageant Inc.; Sylvia Loveless-Amos, who designed for the entertainers Prince, Jody Watley, and other noted musicians; and Charles Caldwell, a former model and now owner of C. Caldwell Fine Arts Gallery and Studio.
The panel did an outstanding job of informing the audience of what the fashion scene was like during this period known as the “epicenter” of Black fashion in Minnesota. Harvest Prep students Makarei Payne Glass and Azari Jackson added a youthful touch to the program. Another highlight of the evening was the “fashion flashback” when former models took to the runway, modeling from Grover Washington’s “Mr. Magic,” a favorite back in their days of modeling.
Musician Kevin Jackson drew a standing ovation with his tribute to fashion pioneers who have passed away. Special recognition and red roses were bestowed on three “Black Fashion Queens” — Bertha Smith, Phebe Givens and Ophelia Moss — and Certificates of Appreciation went to many other fashion pioneers, many of whom had not seen each other in decades. Many are still talking about how much they learned about these fashion shows of the past.