A few weeks ago, we told you about Kyema McEntyre (top left), a senior at Cecily Tyson High School of Performing Arts. After designing this dress for her own prom, she did it again this past weekend for the 2015 BET Awards. McEntyre was the creative mind behind singer and actress Naturi Naughton’s African inspired, floor length gown. Once again, she slayed it.
In an exclusive interview with Necole Bitchie, the New Jersey native described how she happened to design Naughton’s dress.
“Naturi contacted me through e-mail, and we talked over the phone about her ideal dress. She explained to me that she wanted to connect with her African roots as well. I explained to her that my prom dress was my first design ever and that her design would be my second. So, of course, I asked her to bare with me. Naturi and her beautiful soul welcomed me despite my experience with Fashion Designing. She wanted to shed light on young people from her community [East Orange, New Jersey] and that she did. I enlisted a local seamstress by the name of Markell Mockabee, who brought my design to life.”
She also made it clear that her goal is to inspire young women to be authentic.
“As a result of going viral, my mailbox has changed in numbers, but my faith and my drive has not changed. People ask me all the time how does it feel, and I tell them it’s just amazing to be celebrated for just being myself. I consider myself to be an artist, fashion designer, and self-identity activist. I actually planned on people to recognize my dress locally, because I wanted to inspire little girls to be themselves, however, it this has definitely exceeded my expectations.”
McEntyre’s designs are not only beautiful, they are a part of her committment to create positive images for young Black women and girls. We look forward to even greater work from this young woman in years to come.
Photo credit: Kyemah McEntyre (Instagram)/Naturi Naughton (screen grab)
Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.