Yes, fabulous events do take place in Pittsburgh. On Dec. 9, at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater hundreds witnessed “A Global Celebration of Design, Dance & Music: FashionAfricana.” Dancer and choreographer, Dwana Smallwood served as honorary co-chair. Not only did she co-chair, she performed. Smallwood was formerly with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and currently she is the Director of Student Affairs for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa.


The evening continued with performances by award winning percussionist and composer Kahil EL’Zabar and a powerful fashion show featuring fashions by Lois Samuels. Numerous artists were represented on the stage including: Thad Mosley, LaVerne Kemp, Vanessa German, Dale Kelley, UtopiaStyle, Mary Martin, Karen Page and The Vessel. by lois.

This was the 10th anniversary event celebrating women of the diaspora and was presented by FashionAfricana with the Kelly Strayhorn as the co-presenter. FashionAfricana was founded by Demeatria Boccella in 2001. Through its annual production, FashionAfricana explores African history and culture in a contemporary context and collaborates with fashion designers and artists to create new work through various media, including: design, photography, sculpture and performance.

Boccella is the co-founder of Utopia Model Agency along with Darnell McLaurin, who also co-produces FashionAfricana. The pair established Utopia to represent diversity and broaden the standard of beauty. Today, Darnell oversees and manages the Men & Women division of Utopia in Pittsburgh and New York City.

Guests enjoyed both pre-and post show receptions in the lobby of the Kelly Strayhorn. Learn more about FashionAfricana online at

Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours