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Garfield Heights High School’s Makalaya Zanders was clear that she was going to slay this year’s prom her way, despite what others had to say. 

See Zanders had her heart set on a dress that spoke to her sense of beauty and style. Inspired by a gown that Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze wore to a ball, the Ohio senior knew that African print was the look she was going for. But according to Yahoo News, a white teacher at her school tried to dissuade the 17-year-old by shaming her and saying that particular style was too “tacky for prom.”


Thankfully, Zanders didn’t listen to her teacher’s uninformed and culturally insensitive comments and “proved them” all wrong by rocking this breathtaking custom-made cobalt blue and gold print gown. And her message of loving herself in her skin was just was stunning as the mermaid train of her dress.

Zanders wrote, “Little did I know it came out more beautiful, then I could’ve ever imagine!! My dress was to make a point.” She added, “That African style is beautiful. That I am comfortable with my Melanin and roots. And finally that there’s nothing like Black girl Magic.”

Zanders worked with local designer DeAndre’ Crenshaw to help bring her concept to life, a look that garnering thousands of fans on social media, Yahoo New noted. And despite what her teacher said, she stresses that she wants for people to remember the dress instead, the Daily Mail noted.

“I would not like to focus on the comment made by a teacher mainly because she apologized, and do not want this to overshadow the gown,’ she continued. “This is not about black or white, just appreciation of our heritage.”

With all of this media attention, does Zanders plan on selling her dress? Absolutely not.

“I would like to keep it as a memoir, and possible show my future daughter how cool I was lol,” she says.

Kudos to Zanders for being an individual and not apologizing for being her fabulous and #BlackGirlMagic self.


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Teen Slays In African-Themed Prom Dress, Despite Teacher Saying It Was “Tacky”  was originally published on