While students rejoiced at the two extra days of holiday due to recent inclement weather, the storm put a damper on the Black Student Union’s plans for the staging of the Mr. and Ms. Black Excellence Pageant on Feb. 22.
“We already had a lot of things planned and had bought things for the pageant. We had things set up in Akin Auditorium, and now we have to find a new location — that’s the reason why it’s being pushed back so far. We have to rearrange everything we originally had,” Kennedy Howard, director of the Black Excellence Pageant and exercise physiology freshman, said.
Although an official date for the pageant has not been announced, Howard said they have decided on the month of April. She added that the standard of the pageant will be high by then.
“In that time we’re planning on getting more people to be a part of the pageant, as in more participants and it gives us more time to raise money to invite more people to the pageant,” Howard said.
Howard said all is not lost as BSU members and Black Excellence Pageant committee members are working to produce a better production.
“We kind of saw ahead that we were expecting some bad weather and there was a possibility the event would get postponed, so we had a backup plan. This gives us the opportunity to tighten up loose ends that we weren’t ready with,” she said.
The four contestants for the Mr. and Ms. Black Excellence Pageant are: Latoya Fondren, mass communication junior; Jamilah Kangudja, exercise physiology sophomore; Simon Green, sports and leisure studies junior; and Charles Quaye, dental hygiene sophomore.
They will compete in six segments: introduction, talent, night out, business attire, formal wear and question and answer.
The show will also feature a male component for its second staging, which Howard said will “draw more students to the pageant, as well as highlight the excellence of black men in society.”
She said she loves the enthusiasm displayed by the contestants and thinks the extra time to rehearse will help the show.
“At first, the postponement of the pageant was kind of disappointing because myself and the other contestants practiced so hard to present ourselves the day of the pageant,” Fondren, one of the Ms. Black Excellence contestants, said. “But now we’re receiving updates of our pageant date being moved to early April, which gives us more time to be able to practice.”
Fondren said on the bright side, it worked out for the better because everyone including the pageant staff are not scrambling around trying to balance courses and rehearsal nights at the same time.
The first-time pageant contender said she would be astounded if she captured the title of Ms. Black Excellence.
“My goal, if I were to win, would be to represent the Black Student Union here at this institution and be a leader for students here on campus of all cultural backgrounds, someone who can continue to put smiles on people’s faces and just be an example for others to always be yourself no matter what and you can do anything you put your mind to,” Fondren said. “We need more of that here on campus.”
Some of the students who planned to attend the pageant were upset that it was postponed, but understood the reasons why.
Karla Henry, management freshman, said, “I was looking forward to the event because I love pageantry and the idea of celebrating black beauty. I was disappointed when it got postponed, but I will save my ticket for April.”
Howard said the purpose of the Black Student Union is to promote activities of common interest, as well as cultural and educational benefits for the student body.
“We wanted to display the vibrancy of black culture, beauty and elegance as well as highlight the theme for Black History Month 2018: ‘African Americans in Times of War,’ and the pageant was designed to do just that,” Howard said.
Ticket prices remain at $5. Students who originally purchased tickets will be able to use them when the new date for the event is announced.