Dunya Jeane showcase aims to raise cultural awareness

Kara Taylor

Dressed in traditional clothing and accompanied by African music, the Barefeet Dance Tribe performed their African-inspired dance moves Thursday night in the Kiva auditorium.

The group used the whole stage as its canvas to express themselves through synchronized dance moves inspired by African culture. 

This performance was a part of the first multicultural showcase presented by the campus organization and independent clothing line Dunya Jeane.

Dunya means world in several languages, such as Turkish, Arabic and Hindi, and Jean is the middle name of the founder.

An “e” was added to Jean so people would not think the clothing line was selling jeans, Dunya Jeane founder Danielle Flemister said.

Senior communication studies major Mary Rogers said this was a great name because the organization has a goal to unite all minority and international organizations.  

Flemister said the word “world” was chosen because all of her designs are inspired from cultural symbols. 

“The goal of the organization is to promote cultural awareness and unity through fashion and performing,” Flemister said. “All cultures are invited to be a part of Dunya Jeane.”

“Dunya Jeane started as a clothing line and grew into a student organization,” she said. “I realized there was a large part of minorities and international students who are underrepresented on this campus, and I thought this organization could bring people together.”

The models walked down the runway to “Walking on Air” by Katy Perry as they wore Dunya Jeane-inspired clothing, which consisted of printed T-shirts that promoted cultural diversity.

The show also included performances such as tribal dancing, spoken word, singing and belly dancing. 

Devin Bates and Bryan Miller-Foster, known by their stage name “Duality,” performed spoken word that promoted the clothing line by reflecting on the evolution of style in the African-American culture. 

Miller-Foster, a junior English major, said getting the crowd interested and interacting with the audience is the best part of performing. 

“I think the message of cultural diversity was received, but many times with spoken word performers people have to go home and let what we say marinate,” Foster said. 

The host, sophomore Pan-African Studies major Latabia Johnson, included the audience in different activities throughout the showcase. Between performances, she asked people to answer questions regarding different cultures.

“I need five people who know five countries in Africa to come on stage,“ Johnson said. 

Five people approached the stage and named countries such as Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. The participants received gift bags.

Johnson also spoke on equality and the importance of everyone being able to be comfortable in their own skin.

“I believe everyone has the right to be who they want to be,” she said. “I have been in a room where people immediately judged and criticized me, but I am comfortable in my skin. Give it up one time for love.”

The crowd, diversified by many ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, cheered for the statement that promoted equality for all. 

Flemister said she hopes to continue the tradition of hosting a multicultural showcase for years to come, and she is looking for more models and talent for her next Dunya Jeane showcase. 

“The award of seeing the show unfold was well worth all of the hard work,” Flemister said.

Contact Kara Taylor at [email protected].