On February 1, the Black Student Association (BSA) hosted a Y2K Ghetto Fabulous party at the Come See Me club in Toronto to mark the beginning of Black History Month. The event celebrated Black joy, fashion, and history. The BSA hosted the event in collaboration with UTM’s Black Students Association, UTSC’s African Students’ Association, and the Caribbean Studies Students’ Union. In an interview with The Varsity, BSA Equity Officer Doyin Adeyemi spoke about the event’s planning process, turnout, and goals.
The term ‘Ghetto fabulous’ characterizes a fashion marked by glitter, low-rise jeans, baby pink, and graphic t-shirts. Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell first coined the term, which came to encapsulate much of Black aesthetic in the 1990s and continued to influence Black style throughout the 2000s. Adeyemi told The Varsity that the organizers “wanted to honour that subsection of the early 2000’s… [and] celebrate Black people.”
According to an article in Today, many Black people have reclaimed the word “ghetto” — which white Americans have used pejoratively — to imply resilience and creativity. Attendees honored these connotations by dressing the part, and the club was filled with glitter, glam, shiny gloss, and gold chains.
Hundreds of people, including Black-identifying students and allies of all backgrounds, showed up to the Come See Me club for the party. According to Adeyemi, DJs, photographers, and videographers also attended to set the vibe and capture the night. The organizers held a ‘best dressed’ contest, which all attendants who arrived between 10:00–11:00 pm automatically entered. Although the competition proved fierce, U of T student Egypt Williams won with a fur coat, low rise jeans, and blinged out purse. “People showed out,” Adeyemi said. “It was incredible to see everyone dressed up.”
One student attendant, Sophia Abolore, told The Varsity, “I love that we started off Black History Month with a party just celebrating Black people and our culture, and inverting a negative stereotype.”
The BSA held other events to celebrate Black History Month, including a ski trip. Upcoming events include an open mic and poetry night hosted with University of St. Michael’s College on February 28 and an anime convention on March 3. According to Adeyemi, the BSA may throw another party in the near future.