One of the worst prom night disasters that could happen to a girl is to show up in the same dress someone else is wearing. That didn’t happen to Milan Morris.
Morris, a star athlete at Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, Fla., wore a one-of-a-kind gown inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to a prom on Friday.
It was made from fabric printed with the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and others.
“Yes I’m black. Yes I’m 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that’s bigger than me,” she wrote on Instagram, where she posted photos of herself in the dress.
“Every life on this earth is precious. God created us all as gifts,” Morris told the Palm Beach Post. “When a mother loses a child or a child loses a parent, especially when it’s under unnecessary circumstances, their lives shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Florida-based designer Terrence Torrence designed the gown featuring the faces of black people who died in police-involved shootings and Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watchman.
Torrence told Essence magazine he decided last year to create a dress to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, and things finally fell into place this year when he was asked to design a dress for Morris.
“With all the killings that was going on, it just hit me one day: You should put that into a dress,” he told CNN.
“I wanted to paint a picture and put a story out there through my fashion, and I wanted to show we could spread out message with not just posters and fliers but also with garments.”
Morris is a standout basketball player at Cardinal Newman who received a full scholarship to Boston College, where she plans to study premed, according to the Post.
She couldn’t attend her own prom because of a prior commitment, so she wore the gown to the prom at Pahokee High.
“I already knew this dress was way bigger than me or how I looked in it or how I felt in it,” she told the Post. “I knew the purpose was to bring awareness. To highlight these things going on in America.”
It certainly grabbed attention. Snoop Dogg shared a photo of her in the dress on his Instagram. Trayvon Martin’s mother called her.
Torrence made Trayvon’s photo, the iconic one of him wearing a hoodie, the most prominent image on the dress.
“Trayvon, I remember that whole movement,” the designer told the Post. “It was the first time I can remember people coming together for someone killed that way. I remember being in L.A. and wearing my hoodie for Trayvon.”