Genesis: Multicultural Showcase

This is the beginning


Courtesy of Barbershop

The showcase will feature fashion from the 90s to the present day in Black culture alongside live performances and more!

Kayla Ivan, Arts & Culture Manager

After over two years of planning due to the pandemic and lots of hard work, the Barbershop at RWU alongside the Africana Student Coalition is proud to present Genesis: Multicultural Showcase, a large-scale event they have been imagining for several years now.

The showcase will be taking place on Saturday, Oct. 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Field House and will likely run until 9 p.m. The event will feature a wide variety of performances including a fashion show with models, live singers, dancers, a live pianist, spoken word poetry, art displays and cultural food favorites among other performances.

Seniors Wilmer Castillo (Barbershop President) and Melissa Calvo Vides (fashion show model and marketing committee team member) took the time to share their expectations for the event, stating that they are predicting a large showing based on their continued advertisement of the event on social media and through the university.

The two also discussed planning experience and what went into setting this vision into motion — through managing 25+ models, incorporating roughly 10 performers with various talents, implementing heavy advertising, booking the space, considering who could be a part of the event from off campus/surrounding schools and so on; this event is a result of their dedication to a dream.

A few other clubs are partnering with Barbershop and the Africana Student Coalition including the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) and Hispanic and Latinx Student Association (HALSA). The Film Club is also helping with filming advertisement videos and photographs to promote the showcase.

“We wanted to have a large-scale event focused on celebrating culture,” said Castillo, “[An event where] people of color can celebrate being people of color.”

Both Castillo and Calvo Vides discussed the lack of representation that they have felt (alongside other members of the Black/Latinx community) in events at RWU. This showcase is a way to bring their cultural backgrounds, which are diverse, into the spotlight for the first time in an event dedicated to who they are and what they grew up around.

One part that both are excited about is that family members will be in attendance; they are eager to finally share what they have been working on. As several of the members of their club are first-generation college students, they are also pleased to be able to show their roots, which will be made possible through this display of culture.

The fashion show’s models have been practicing since September, and Castillo has felt the weight of planning a highly anticipated event. Each committee involved, including the advertising, event planning, and others report directly to Castillo, meaning his plate has been full for a while.

As there are still limitations because of the pandemic, there is an added element of planning as far as ensuring all off-campus groups and performers will be given the green light to come to campus for the event.

Several other institutions, including Providence College and UMass schools with student groups, focused on culture are set to join the event to show their support for this mission to increase awareness on our campus of Black and Latinx culture for the first time ever. This event, through a collaborative spirit with other clubs on campus along with groups at other universities nearby, is much bigger than the RWU community alone.

Calvo Vides eagerly shared the theme of the fashion show portion of the event, stating, “The show is set up to be a celebration of BIPOC culture throughout the decades.”

With four rounds of models walking in fashion from the 90s to current fashion worn by people of color, there will also be lots of other content in between including music and art, alongside multicultural foods. They are keeping a few surprises up their sleeve as far as more details are concerned. You will have to go to see it for yourself!

The showcase will be a fulfilled vision from pre-COVID of bringing together various cultures and will be a display that will allow guests of color to feel the most like themselves. Everyone in the RWU community is encouraged to attend and is invited to see what the culture is about.

Castillo and Calvo Vides shared how they are hopeful that this event is the pioneer for more large-scale events in the future. “We want this to be a tradition in the years to come,” said Castillo.

This event, especially for the seniors of Barbershop, will be a part of their legacy left on campus.

“Don’t miss it…this is meant for everyone,” said Castillo.

The showcase will cost $5 at the door and space is limited within the Field House, so get there early! There will also be an after party in the Global Heritage Hall (GHH) Atrium immediately following the event.