Last Thursday, Clark Atlanta University gained a new royal court through the Mister and Miss Residence Hall Association pageant, which took place in the multipurpose room on the third floor of their student center. The theme was “A Night In Las Vegas” and if you know anything about HBCUs and their events, then you know that the night carried out just as glamorous as it sounds.
The entrance had a sign that read “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” with dazzling lights and props. What seemed to be the crowd’s favorite was the card dealer that really set the tone of the casino vibe. And, would it really be Vegas without “photo opps?” The backdrop was a photo of the famous Las Vegas sign, that allowed the guests to really bask in the theme. Hors d’oeuvres were provided during cocktail hour such as shrimp cocktail, chicken wings, and pasta salad. The centerpieces consisted of a large martini cup filled with beads, dice, and counterfeit hundred dollar bills.
The introductions started off as Miss RHA Contestant #1, Keren Coleman, made her way to the stage and announced that she is from Jacksonville Florida. Miss RHA Contestant #2, Akita Colter, hails from Chicago Illinois, Mr. RHA Contestant #1 Shahid Mitchel is l from Gwinnett County, Georgia and Mr. RHA Contestant #1 Darryl Fletcher was born and raised in Miami, Florida. The interview questions were chosen when each contestant picked a high card from a deck, truly complementing the casino theme.
While the contestants were doing their costume changes, Clark Atlanta University’s very own Evolution Dance Theatre performed a beautiful tribute to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. One of the most captivating parts of the pageant was the talent portion that followed after the dance performance. Contestant #1 performed her spoken word poem, entitled, “Stop.” Contestant #2 sang her own rendition of “Diamond” by Rihanna. Meanwhile, Mr. RHA contestant #1 entertained the crowd with his comedic version of “Climax” by Usher. Contestant #2 blew everyone away with his cover of “This is Why I love You” by Major.
In order to add suspense before the crowning of the contestants, the hosts announced a ten minute intermission. Line dances such as the Cupid Shuffle, the Electric Slide, and the Cha Cha Slide played while the audience enjoyed themselves on the dance floor. Directly following the intermission, the residence hall kings and queens were crowned. The freshman halls were crowned first, and the upperclassmen dorms were followed afterwards. (I should probably mention that I partook in the pageant’s crowning, shouldn’t I?)
I remember the feeling of anticipation as I strutted across the stage.“Your next Miss Heritage Commons.. Will be announced after this commercial break,”one of the hosts joked. I felt butterflies in my stomach as the spotlight reached my face and crowd became silent. “Your next Miss Heritage Commons, is Jeydah Jenkins!” After weeks of preparing for my campaign, I was finally being crowned “Miss Heritage Commons.” I was given a sash that represented my new title and a gorgeous bouquet of red roses. I took my seat as the new Mister and Miss RHA were being crowned. The winners of the pageant were Kerin Coleman and Darryl Fletcher Jr.
When the new Queen was asked about her favorite part of the pageant, she said, “My favorite part of the pageant had to be the practices leading up to the big day because everyday I watched myself grow, struggle, and change. I can’t count how many times I was about to give up because this was way out of my comfort zone. Now that I won it’s really the fact that I finished is what’s got me like, ‘wow. I got my confidence back.’”
When the King was asked about what he plans to accomplish with his new title, he stated, “I feel that me winning shows that I am capable of doing this position, and capable of bringing change to the office of RHA. With my platform I plan to help people be themselves and not be afraid to walk into the calling and the person God has called them to be.”
The night was filled with shimmering pageant dresses, dazzling smiles, and charisma.
The Mister and Miss RHA pageant was a memorable experience because not only did I watch the pageant as an audience member, but because I had partake in it as well. Being that I am now Miss Heritage Commons and a part of the RHA’s royal court, I feel a sense of responsibility to the residents of Clark Atlanta University. I encourage all college students to become involved on their campuses and to create change.