Over the years, the Howard University Homecoming Fashion Show has drawn the likes of Venus and Serena Williams, actor and alum Lance Gross, and America's Next Top Model Cycle 2 contestant Camille McDonald. The beauty of the fashion show is that the crowd itself is a fashion show completely independent of the main event.
Don't get it twisted—the true attraction is on the stage, but the crowd is always dressed to impress. This year's theme was Noveau Riché: Rewinding the Standard of Class, and the Howard University Homecoming Fashion Show 2012 aimed high to hold up the tradition that has made the individual event, and Howard's Homecoming, famous.
The show began with an introductory segment set to the sounds of Cruel Summer's opening track, the R. Kelly-assisted "To The World." After a brief dance routine, the crowd was introduced to the group of models in a performance that aimed for the look of a Kanye West stage show. This was before the first of the evening's several intermissions, which is typically when the party starts in the audience. However, rather than turn up, the crowd seemed to grow restless with the extended breaks.
Sir Michael Rocks, the artist formerly known as Mikey Rocks of the Cool Kids, joined the models during another segment. Mr. Banco Popular strolled up and down the runway with the same laid-back confidenc he brings to the microphone. During the second-to-last intermission, the crowd finally woke up, and the 2 Chainz and Juicy J tracks blaring through the brand new speakers of Howard's recently renovated Cramton Auditorium had much to do with that. It's also possible that everyone in the building could sense the coming musical performance.
The beautiful Elle Varner arrived just in time, running through her J. Cole-assisted lead single "Only Wanna Give It You," even spitting Cole's verse. Varner performed several songs from her debut, Perfectly Imperfect, and took a moment to endear herself to all of the women in attendance by performing "So Fly," an inspirational anthem about self-esteem. A child of the industry, Varner thanked one of her teachers, actress and Howard alum Wendy Raquel Robinson, who was also in attendance . Before leaving the stage, Varner addressed the thirst in the building by singing her ass off on the hit single, "Refill."
All of the models returned to the stage to bid the crowd farewell, and Howard alum and television personality A.J. Calloway popped up on stage during the show's final moments. There were bumps and bruises along the way, but in the end, the 2012 fashion show stood tall. Elle Varner can take the lion's share of the credit.
Written by Julian Kimble (@JRK316).