Students celebrate black excellence at BUS’ 47th annual Renaissance Ball


Kiara White is crowned queen and Roderic Swiner II is crowned king at the 47th annual Renaissance Ball. Nov. 12, 2015.

Daria Gaither

Students filled the Kent Student Center ballroom Thursday night to celebrate Black United Students’ (BUS) 47th annual Renaissance Ball.

Five men and four women competed for the title of king, queen, prince and princess.

The Renaissance Ball is pageant-based. Contestants competed in the areas of talent, formal wear and a question round.

Contestants’ talents ranged from praise dance and costume design to salsa dancing and spoken word. Each talent fell in line with this year’s theme, “Redefining Our Royalty.”

“I feel like all contestants did well reflecting us as a culture,” first-time attendee and junior fashion design major Joseph Barnett said. “We come from royalty, and we should appreciate it.”

The hosts of the event took a serious moment to acknowledge students at the University of Missouri. The hosts also took a selfie with the audience to be posted on BUS’ social media accounts with the hashtag #standinsolidaritywithMizzou.

Roderic Swiner II, sophomore sports administration major, won the title of king. Swiner said he hopes to help his community with his new title.

“I am going to take this and run with it,” Swiner said. “I will continue to be dedicated to my expression, do for my community and inspire people.”

Kiara White, senior Pan-African studies major, won the title of queen. White said she was very happy to have won.

“This is something I wanted to do since my freshman year,” White said. “I am happy I finally got to be queen my last year.”

The Renaissance Ball, originally called “Queen Meuse Ball,” was created by BUS in 1969 after African-American students were not allowed to participate in Kent State’s Homecoming.

“We have kept the tradition alive for our ancestors who paved the way,” said one of the host’s for the evening, Kenae Hughes. “We are redefining our royalty.” 

BUS board members were very excited about the turnout said Doneisha Hawkins, senior construction management major and vice president of BUS.

“I think it went very well,” Hawkins said. “I am really happy with the turnout and the contestants.”

BUS board members over the years have taken pride in its theme each year, said Kyndall Echols, director of programming for BUS.

Echols closed out the evening by speaking to the audience.

“We want to make sure you all feel loved and felt the energy here tonight,” Echols said.

Daria Gaither is the diversity reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].