BUS Renaissance Ball celebrates African-American culture


Junior Jakim Harvey embraces sophomore Kyndall Echols after they are crowned King and Queen of the 46th annual Renaissance Ball in the Ballroom Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Teahl Rice

Kent State’s ballroom quickly filled up with high energy and an air of celebration as more than 300 students gathered for Black United Students’ 46th annual Renaissance Ball.

Doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and the event started at 7 p.m.

Students, dressed to the nines in formal wear, enjoyed upbeat music and dancing while they waited for the ball to begin.

This year’s theme was “Black Revelation: A Complex Identity.”

“The theme was meant to explain all the intricacies of black people, our swag, the way we carry ourselves, our nature, how we talk and speak,” Sierra Allen, a junior journalism mass communications major, said.

Allen said she enjoyed supporting her peers and Kent State’s African-American community.

“I think it’s very interesting because a lot of people define black as being misconstrued,” she said. “They view it as a negative thing in other cultures, so the theme fits and works.”

The ball featured a pageant, which started off with a series of skits performed by the ten members on BUS’s Homecoming court. Contestants lip synced to an audio recording and participated in a mini dance.

Ava Moss, a sophomore public relations major, kicked off the talent portion of the pageant with a passionate recitation of Shakespeare. The piece she chose reflected on the complex identity of a woman and her attitude toward a man who had wronged her.

Alante Jones, a sophomore psychology major, performed spoken word pieces that dealt with themes of personal identity. Using rhymes and analogies, Jones moved the audience with his speaking and rapping.

Bernard Branner, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, focused on genocide within the black community and how the community needs to come together and support one another.

The last spoken word piece, performed by Jakim Harvey, a junior exercise science major, pertained to series of national incidents that started in the summer involving violence against African-American youth.

“In the past three months there’s been an incident of police brutality,” Harvey said. “I felt that at first it was given a lot of attention but then it went away. It needed to be reincarnated into peoples minds because it’s still a pressing issue.”

Inah Dunbar, a freshman exploratory major, and Kyndal Echols, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, performed dances. Dunbar performed a hip hop routine to Beyonce while Echols demonstrated a praise dance.

Emonte Wimbus, a freshman fashion merchandising major, demonstrated instant styling. Two members from an eager crowd were picked to come up on stage. Wimbus then gave the volunteers quick clothing makeovers on stage.

Ayveri Smothers, a freshman vocal performance major, gave a powerful vocal performance and got the entire crowd to clap along while she sang.

Kenea Hughes, a sophomore public communications major, sang a song  found on the soundtrack of the movie, The Color Purple. The song focused on a woman no longer needing a man.

Trey Walker wrapped up the talent portion with a video monologue of himself reflecting on the struggles he’s faced because of his sexuality. At the end of the video he walks out on stage dressed as angel.

“You guys are all the authors of your own story,” Walker said. “Know your worth.”

The crowd was dead silent and seemed to be moved by Walker’s performance.

Halfway through the talent portion, a video called ‘My Culture is Not Minor,’ which focused on the African-American community, their struggles and their views, was played.

Students held up signs throughout the film, emblazoned with slogan like, “No, you cannot touch my hair” and “I don’t just listen to hip hop.”

Rashaan Arnold, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, said he was inspired by the film.

“I think that the video was really good,” Arnold said. “It answered a lot of stereotypes and it sent a powerful message.”

While the crowd voted for the king, queen, prince and princess, audience members were invited to take part in quick runway walk to determine the evening’s best dressed. Two babies were awarded the title.

Harvey was crowned king and Echols was crowned queen. Walker was crowned prince and Moss was crowned princess.

“It feels great because I love the Renaissance Ball,” Harvey said. “It feels great”.

Contact Teahl Rice at [email protected].