The Student Alliance for the Welfare of Africa (SAWA) held their ninth annual hair show, displaying African culture and beauty, entertainment and fashion designs last Friday night in Edwards Auditorium.

The show, titled “Hair It Goes-A Tale Untold” was hosted by the comedian Foxy P, who started the night by introducing the Executive Board of SAWA, including President Hanna Onamiye, Treasurer Nicole Sarr and Public Relations Chair Kanyinsola Alabi.

The Hair Show was first created by Michelle Wright, former member of SAWA, and has since turned into a tradition. Onamiye said that this is their biggest show of the year, and this time, there was an unbelievable attendance. Last year, over $1,000 were raised, and most of the funds go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital to aid the fight against cancer. Sarr said the proceeds go towards helping make wigs for children who have cancer and are going through Chemo Therapy treatment.

Courtesy of: Sampson Jacobs
Courtesy of: Sampson Jacobs

Models were split up into four different scenes, each presenting both men and women with various designs, makeup and hair styles. The first scene, “Luxury,” opened with the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” with 10 models seated on stage in stand-still poses. One by one, each model got up by themselves and walked the runway. The makeup was done by Adeola Osinaga, and the clothes designed by Jenneh McCabe, were intense and expensive looking. During this scene the models were very dramatic and sensual, vitalizing the audience immediately.

The second scene, “Poor Couture,” consisted of only eight models with designs by Kandi Sayer and makeup by Angela Gonzalez. Foxy P ensured the audience to “pay attention to intricate details.” Each piece was constructed with unconventional items, including caution tape, straws, water bottles, newspapers, CDs, fans and plastic cups.

“A Tale,” the third scene, was inspired by “The Hunger Games,” with designs by Kaleigh Guay and makeup by Jazmine Fernandez. This scene’s focus was on the lead model, who held a bow the whole time, and pretended to shoot each model, signaling them to walk the runway next. The designs had vibrant colors, and the models matched the designs with fierce dance moves and struts.

Courtesy of: Sampson Jacobs
Courtesy of: Sampson Jacobs

To end the show, 16 models presented designs by Kandi Sayer in a final scene, entitled “The Epic Battle.” This scene was like a performance, where the models, who were mainly dressed in camouflage, pushed one another around and showed off their attitudes.

Throughout the night, various acts performed in-between the four scenes, including young artists YoungMuse, Verzatyle, ScarlettWhite, E.J. The Singer and more. There were also appearances from a dance team at Providence College and the URI Fencing Team. Foxy P kept the audience awake, offering multiple jokes and interactive games.

Sarr said that although the show mainly revolved around the four scenes and fashion designs, SAWA added a little touch of their culture.


“The organization wanted to add their own flavor and show their talent, skills and showcase different things that deal with creativity that can relate to the African Continent,” Sarr said.

Almost all of the models were URI students, some of them members of SAWA. Alabi explained how the Executive Board holds a “model call” and have people audition to participate in the show. As for the entertainers, Alabi said that most of the rappers directly contacted SAWA for a chance to perform at the show, and the rest they chose on their own. Most of the hair dressers and rappers graduated from URI, so SAWA has a good network base.

“We try to use our campus student organizations first before we go outside because there’s a lot of talent on this campus that people don’t know about,” Onamiye said.

SAWA’s purpose is to display Africa in a more positive light, and inform people about the continent and its people, cultures and traditions. Onamiye said that SAWA brings a diverse aspect to campus and wants to represent positivity. The club mainly focuses on African culture, but members of SAWA are of various different races. Sarr explained how the members have become so close, and they all have a sense of family.

“I’m from Nigeria, so I definitely want to represent where I’m from and never let it go,” Alabi said.  She explained how a lot of people lose their sense of identity when they come to a new place but it’s important to know that there are other people out there who are from similar cultures and can relate.

The Hair Show was just one event for SAWA to portray their African culture. After the show, Sarr said that SAWA received a lot of positive feedback. Their next event, Africa Week, is coming up in two weeks. Alabi and Onamiye explained how last year’s Africa Week had a good turnout, but this year they want it to be much bigger. The week will consist of food, game nights, potluck and various other events.

“We want people to listen to what we have to say so that they learn more about what we are all about, and the world,” Sarr said.