Teacher Calls African-Inspired Dress ‘Tacky’ for Prom, Teen Wears It Anyway

'Not about black or white, just appreciation of our heritage'
May 26, 2016 Updated: May 26, 2016

A teacher at a high school in Cleveland, Ohio, apparently told a student that her African-themed gown was too “tacky for [the] prom,” but the teen wore it anyway and achieved viral fame.

Makalaya Zanders, who attends Garfield Heights High School in Cleveland, ultimately went ahead in wearing the African-theme gown after she saw one that model Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze wore to a ball in 2015.


“My dress was to make a point,” Zanders wrote on Instagram of the royal blue, fishtail gown that was made out of Ankara fabric.

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,” per The Voice.

“After discussing how beautiful it was and that I would do a African theme with a (Caucasian) teacher I was told it wasn’t really ‘something you wear to prom/tacky for prom,'” the post added. “Hellbent on proving them wrong and being someone who loves our culture and African glamorous style, me and @indelible_dc decided to take the Ankara dress and put a twist on it.”

“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 added, according to MailOnline.

“This is not about black or white, just appreciation of our heritage.”

Photos of the dress went viral on Instagram and elsewhere this week.