Teen Wears Prom Dress Honoring Trayvon Martin and The Black Lives Matter Movement

Milan Morris talks to us about her prom dress that features images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and more

Paula Rogo Apr, 22, 2017

It’s prom season! And as one Florida teen showed, great style can also have a great message.

Seventeen-year-old Milan Morris’ prom dress is gorgeous. But her outfit is getting particular attention because of the Black Lives Matter message it conveyed.

Morris’ floor-length gown, designed by Florida-based Terrance Torrence, featured black and white images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and more of the lives we have lost in recent years to police brutality. She shared a photo of the dress on Instagram. And from her caption, she is utterly unapologetic for it! YES!

“Yes I’m Black. Yes I’m 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that’s bigger than me,” she captioned a photo of the demure dress, which she complemented with black lace.

Torrence, a West Palm Beach based designer who also works in Miami and Atlanta, was the dressmaker who brought the whole look together, Morris told ESSENCE.com.

“He was the mastermind behind this whole thing honestly,” said Morris adding that Torrence’s “message is a huge issue in America today.”

Torrence, who is knee-deep in designing for prom season, told ESSENCE.com that he knew he wanted to create a dress inspired by Black Lives Matter last year, but it all finally came together in 2017. The dress took four days to make.

“It was powerful,” Torrence said of finishing the dress. “It was art. It was surreal. It spoke volumes.”

 

He added: “It was powerful and a movement and I  knew people would respond to it.”

And respond they have!

As for Morris, the Palm Beach senior is also a basketball star at Cardinal Newman High School, having been recently recognized as an “all-area player” by the Palm Beach Post. She will be taking her talents to Boston College this fall.

What do you think of Milan’s dress?

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To me, being woke means that you recognize that the world is not a simple place, that everything is not all equal, that justice has not happened yet for everyone. And that there's a lot of work to be done. [MUSIC] Your eyes are wide open and you're paying attention. And you're reaching out, and speaking to people along the way, and bringing them on. To increase the amount of wokeness in your community. Being woke is like eyes wide open, everything is clear. You can always see things that other people can just ignore or they just don't know. Woke for me is just being outraged all the time and being able to stay human and feel outraged about injustice that is happening around me. It's being uncomfortable all the time. And making sure that I'm speaking on behalf of those that can't speak out for themselves. Some people know what's happening around them, but they are not doing anything. Right. They're just like, well, it is what it is. Yeah. That's not what woke means, that you actually Take it upon yourself to be like, this is something I need to fix. I need to be part of the solution. And the other thing is, to do that knowing that you can fix it, whatever your level of platform is, there's always an opportunity for you to do just a little something to support them. I also think about what words actually mean, and how we give them power, right? Are you just going to wear it across your chest, but actually not live it out, or are you going to give this word a meaning with your actions? With your daily commitment. And I think in order for us to really progress, we're gonna need people to really step out of their comfort zones, and have those uncomfortable conversations, and not just live in a space where they get to preach to people who already understand what it means. Couldn't agree more. I think to be woke means that you are aware of the issues and the world around [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] I believe it means that you are engaged in the work of justice. This is a time where we just, we can't afford to be asleep. We have to be all the way alert. Without action on the knowledge that we have now, our world will never change. And we need that more than ever. [MUSIC]