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Culture > News

The Scandal of the Crown

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Spelman chapter.

This semester I was blessed to have been asked to compete in my first ever pageant in the Atlanta University Center (AUC). To those who do not attend an HBCU, beauty pageants may not be of much importance. However, the AUC pageants are taken pretty seriously. Typically, pageants are meant to be events in which you are allowed to create strong bonds with your peers, network and create a name for yourself. Unfortunately, when ill intentions and politics get in the mix, this may not be the case. Last week the Sophomore Class Council at our brother institution, Morehouse College held their annual Miss Sophomore pageant. After a scandal surrounding the disposal of votes, the pageant began to gain a lot of negative attention. Participant Jandolyn Washington was especially disappointed after finding out that members of the council threw away the judges scoring. It was her disgust with the outcome of the competition that inspired Jandolyn to speak with me about pageantry in the AUC.


What do you think the role of pageantry is in the AUC?


I believe that the role of pageants is supposed to allow students to run for leadership positions and to represent different organizations. Many people devote their time, energy and effort to show their commitment to whatever it is that they are running for.


Do you think that the original purpose of pageants has changed over time?


I believe that there has always been some corruption in the world of pageantry far beyond our time here. I feel as though some of them not so pleasant things about the AUC are deemed as tradition and seldom face any real criticism. Until we as a collective decide that we aren’t going to tolerate it anymore or be complacent in allowing certain things to take place, we will continue to fall subject to these pitfalls.


Do you think pageants in the AUC are necessary?


I wouldn’t say that I believe that pageants are necessary. However, from my personal experience, I have seen the benefits that can come out of it. Pageantry has helped me gain a lot of self-confidence. I believe that it’s a great way for students to showcase their crafts with an audience and compete to represent an organization or cause. 


How do you think the pageant culture could be improved in the AUC?


I think that pageant culture can be improved by creating a code of conduct approved by SGA, or whatever administrators are deemed fit. This would eliminate not only bias towards certain candidates but also make the playing field that much more even. I think that it’s important pageantry stays fair so that students can continue to be interested in them. 


What role do you believe power and the struggle for it play in pageantry?


I believe that it depends on the scale of the pageant. In my opinion, pageants for RHA or class councils are not as large scale as pageants for Greek Organizations, Miss Maroon and White or Miss Spelman. Therefore, the power and power struggle in each pageant will depend on who it is for.


Any final notes or thoughts?

I do hope to see a change in the world of pageantry in the AUC and I hope that this discussion will spark that change. Thank You so much for covering this topic.



My name is Amarah Gray and currently I am a sophomore at the Spelman College. I am an English major Secondary Education minor. Upon graduating from the illustrious Spelman College I plan to teach high school English and become a high school principal in hopes of one day becoming the superintendent of schools. My passions include educating others, financial literacy education, and educational policies. I enjoy writing as a creative outlet which is why I am super excited to have joined the HER Campus chapter at my college. I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the HER Campus Spelman College chapter.