Caribbean nurses strut stuff in African outfits

Nurse Emilda Prosper in her African outfit.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Caribbean American nurses were in their full glee last Saturday as they strutted their stuff in African outfits before delightful patrons during the 24th Annual Vernese Weekes Scholarship Luncheon at Eastwood Manor on Eastchester Road in the Bronx.

The gala celebration was organized by the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester Chapter of the Caribbean American Nurses Association, Inc. (BMW-CANA).

“Every year, we try to come up with a theme to celebrate and unite us as a culture,” BMW-CANA Vincentian-born president Pamela Roberts-Griffin told Caribbean Life afterwards. “Our roots are not only Caribbean, but they go back to the Motherland of Africa. So, we feel it’s a true tribute to pay homage to our ancestors.

“It’s always important to represent our culture,” added the registered nurse. “We unite every year to celebrate our pride in being women who are decendants of king and queens from the Motherland. Showcasing traditional garb keeps the legacy alive.”

From the rousing applause and smiling faces, Roberts-Griffin said the models were, unmistakably, “a big hit with the crowd.

“Many commented afterwards on how much they enjoyed the models and the fashions,” she said. “The models felt great about strutting their stuff.

“There is an extra joy and pride when you wear African outfits,” she added. “Everyone felt like royalty wearing the beautiful fashions.”

The models were presented by attorney Melanie Okpaku, whose father is Nigerian, and mother is Jamaican Registered Nurse Ingrid Baptiste, who was among the models.

Besides, Baptiste and Roberts-Griffin, other models included Registered Nurses Emilda Prosper, Claudette Shake, Elaine Mills-Ford, Cora Kobel, Claudette Gordon, Virginia James and Hopina Quammie-Samuel.

Over the years, Roberts-Griffin said nursing models showcased their own hats and hats made by a local milliner, and fashions from several designers, local and international.

“We also did ‘Fashion through the Decades’,” she said, stating that the models wore styles from the 1920s to the current decade, “while music and historical data applicable to each decade were highlighted.”

Roberts-Griffin said “Black is Beautiful” was also a modeling hit.

“Black cocktail dresses and brightly hued accessories were modelled, while music and quotes of affirmation by strong black women were recited,” she said. “This was to showcase the outer and inner beauty of black women.”

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