When Makalaya Zanders wanted to wear an African printed dress to her high school prom, a teacher made the hurtful comment that it “wasn’t really something you wear to prom.”
Instead of listening to the negative remark, the 18-year-old showed up to Garfield Heights High School’s prom in a gorgeous royal-blue Ankara print strapless gown. The mermaid style, created by designer DeAndre Crenshaw, hugged Makalaya in all the right places, and she accessorized the look with a dramatic gold belt and choker.
“My dress was to make a point. That African style is beautiful. That I am comfortable with my Melanin and roots,” she wrote on Instagram. “There’s nothing like Black girl Magic.”
Makalaya added that her inspiration for the dress came from an Ankara gown Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze had worn to a gala. Upon hearing her story, Jessica even gave a shout-out to the high school senior on social media for embracing the African style.
“I was told when I was younger that I was too dark, too this, too that,” Makalaya said to ABC News. “I didn’t grow up with black Barbies besides Brandy. As a young girl, I thought I didn’t fit that standard, traditional definition of beautiful.”
After the dress went viral, the teacher has since apologized to Makalaya. Her beautiful gown proved that everyone has the right to embrace their own cultural style. Keep reading to see the stunning Ankara print silhouette from all angles.