Milan Bolden-Morris is a 17-year-old high school senior at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is on her way to playing Division I basketball at Boston College this fall with a full scholarship and, like many high school seniors, attended her school’s prom last weekend. However, rather than your typical sequined, floor-length, gown, Milan chose to sport a one-of-a-kind dress featuring a powerful, show-stopping message.
The idea for the dress was conceived over a year ago and ultimately came to feature the faces of black men, women, and children who’ve lost their lives at the hands of police. It was designed by Terrence Torrence, a family friend of Milan’s. Torrence told Buzzfeed he met with Milan and her mom before declaring, “God was just like, she’s the girl for the dress.” And it appears Milan agreed. The teen ditched what she had originally planned on wearing in favor of the statement piece and proudly posted photos on social media.
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Yes I'm black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me. #AllLivesMatter❤️ #BlackLivesMatter #MoveWithPurpose @oprah @steveharvey.tv @beyonce @chrisbrownofficial @badgalriri @tylerperry @kolyon @terrencetorrence @champagnepapi @liltunechi @bigsean @richforever @colinsmith23 @aliciakeys @kendricklamar @realcoleworld @kingjames
Torrence explained the design was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and though the idea came over a year ago, the dress itself took four days to create. It includes an estimated 15 faces including those of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Tamir Rice and Torrence says he wish he could have included more victims. ” He told Buzzfeed, “If I could put everybody on there, I’d probably still be adding people on, it’s sad to say.”
Responses to the dress, which is made of beaded lace and a thick, stretchy neoprene have been massively positive and even include a re-gram from Snoop Dogg.
People on Twitter have also expressed big support.
Huge props to Milan. When we were high school seniors, we didn’t have full rides to play division I basketball and we DEFINITELY didn’t have the maturity to make activism part of prom night.