Lights, Camera, Action! It’s fashion with a message. On June 18, Culture Clash will present its fashion show “Unmask the Unseen” at the Destiny Event Center in Fayetteville.
Culture Clash, founded by Shawna Lathan, is dedicated to tackling HIV and AIDS through education, outreach, morals and Christianity.
AIDS and HIV disproportionately affects members of the African American community. According to HIV.gov, about 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV. African Americans account for over 40% of all new cases as of 2018 though only making up 13% of the population.
“Unmask The Unseen” speaks to the secretive and often taboo topic of sex education, sexually transmitted infections and preventative resources within the Black community. “It’s time to talk openly about these things,” Lathan said.
“We not only want to erase the stigma of AIDS/HIV and STIs, but we also want to address the ignorance that facilitates the spread of these deadly diseases.”
The creative approach of a fashion show appeals to Lathan’s sense of style and appreciation of the arts, but she also wishes to bring attention to a conversation too often shrouded in shame.
“Even today, parents don’t know how to talk to their kids about this, and those kids are getting the wrong information from the wrong sources,” Lathan said.
Representatives from the Sampson County HIV-AIDS Task Force will be present to offer education, information and resources. According to the organization’s CFO, Phillip White, this aspect is the true value of the event.
“Many people in the community still see HIV/AIDS as an issue that impacts only one type of person,” White shared. “Due to this ignorance, they put themselves and others at risk. Letting everyone know this is still very much an issue, and sharing this knowledge is huge for the community.”
Radio personality Tammy Renae will act as the evening’s host, and attendees can look forward to a night of carefully crafted elegance. Models wearing beautifully designed clothes will present messages of hope, courage, despair and redemption through choreographed dance.
Clothes by local and more established designers such as Carolina Fashion Award recipient Sheila Holly and DeLima Designz will be for sale.
Several local vendors will be on-site, making “Unmask the Unseen” a one-stop-shop for the latest styles and trends. Guests can also look forward to a silent auction, the musical stylings of DJ PJ and a special surprise guest.
Tickets for the event are $25. The price includes a raffle and a swag bag. VIP tickets start at $50 and include exclusive incentives at the silver and gold levels.
All proceeds will be donated to the Sampson County HIV-AIDS Task Force to help their efforts to engage, educate and empower the community.
Lathan hopes everyone in attendance leaves with a spirit to share what they’ve learned.
“I hope people are empowered and motivated to ‘reach one to teach three,’” she said. “I hope we’ve given them something to think about.”
A VIP reception will begin at 5 p.m. with the fashion show following from 6 to 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be sold during the show’s intermission.
The Destiny Event Center is located at 6405 Camden Road.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.cultureclashshow.com/.