Imagine Etiquette was founded on providing students access to life skills that have been passed down throughout four generations of women in Bernadette Fernandez's family. One of those life skills is social etiquette. Social etiquette skills have been a part of the African American community since the 1700s. African Americans have been sharing their skills through books, classes, and debutante balls. Although a debutante ball began as a European practice to present young women eligible for marriage. Every ethnic group has adapted the event to present their young women to society.
Young Black women began making their debut in society through debutante balls in 1778. In the African American community, the event is for young women to gain etiquette skills and make community connections to further their education or career opportunities. Black debutante balls began as a way to familiarize participants with social etiquette such as ballroom dancing, dining etiquette, and how to dress. But more importantly to debunk negative stereotypes of the Black community. They used the event as well as media coverage to share positive images of the black family and highly the elegance of the young women.
Although debutante balls may not happen as frequently they are still viewed as an opportunity in the African American community to strengthen participants' self-esteem, cultural awareness, volunteer efforts, network, and etiquette skills.