This teen’s gorgeous DIY prom dress featured hand-painted portraits of black female icons
We often hear about teens asking their celebrity crush/icon to prom via social media. But one New York City teen took several of her icons to prom — and in the most creative way. Aishamanne Williams showed up to her prom with Erykah Badu, Angela Davis, and Lauryn Hill painted on the skirt of her DIY prom dress to pay homage to the women who have inspired and empowered her.
“Honoring inspirational, radical, unapologetically honest black women was important to me, and that was the message I wanted to leave behind to sum up my four years of high school,” Williams told TeenVogue.com.
To create this marvel of a prom dress, Williams enlisted her friend’s mother, designer Donna Weekes, and fellow classmate/artist, Nyiesha Mallett, to help her create this one-of-a-kind gown. After Mallet painted Badu, Davis, and Hill’s portraits on the skirt, Weekes pulled the strapless design together. According to Williams, the entire look was inspired by designer Kyemah McEntyre’s artistic and powerful fashion pieces.
Williams shared her dress on Instagram with the caption, “an ode to black girls everywhere.”
"I've always been very inspired by those three women and what they stand for," Williams told the site. "I love Erykah Badu's music...her spirituality, [and] the way that her energy speaks to mine. Listening to her music and her words makes me feel at home, so I wanted to pay homage to her for making black girls like me feel loved and represented."
“Lauryn Hill’s unapologetic blackness has always inspired me as well,” Williams continued. “I’ve admired her skillful lyricism and soulful music since my childhood. I’ve also learned a lot from Angela Davis. I consider myself to be an intersectional feminist, and from studying her words and life, I’ve learned a lot about feminism, race, and class.”
Williams’ peers appreciated the work-of-art so much that they voted her “Best Dressed” at prom. She told TeenVogue.com that creating one’s own prom dress gives an individual the opportunity to send a message and share what’s important to them. She even passed along advice to others who might want to create their own prom look.
"Just ask yourself: 'Who am I? What am I most passionate about? What message do I want to deliver to my classmates, and to the rest of the world?' Once you know that, create something true to yourself," Williams said. "Everyone is already unique in their own way, so you don't have to try to be different — just allow your dress to reflect you naturally."
We have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of Aishamanne Williams, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.