All about good character

Brian Wroten

Jurdene Ingram, pre-med and biology major, displays her color guard talent during the 36th annual Renaissance Ball hosted by BUS yesterday evening in the Student Center Ballroom.

Credit: Jason Hall

Iwa pele.

It means good character.

Black United Students chose this theme for the 36th Renaissance Ball to show the impact and strength of black students at Kent State.

Flags from African nations were the center pieces of the tables. A banner displaying the continent of Africa colored in black, green and red, the African colors, and the words “Iwa Pele” hung behind the stage.

“It gives people a good chance to go out, get dressed up and be elegant,” BUS president Matthew Cox said. “I expect it to be entertaining and have a good time.”

After Sasha Parker, BUS political affairs and grievances chair, sang the Black National Anthem, the pageant started.

The contestants for king, queen, prince and princess danced to the music of the Kent State University African Music Ensemble.

Tamara Landry, one of the choreographers for the dances, had the contestants run through the dances to fine tune them before the show.

“It will come together when the show starts,” she said. “We didn’t have a real practice with the drummers.”

The audience enjoyed the dances; they cheered when each contestant had a solo.

The contestants participated in a question and answer session and performed special talents ranging from singing to displaying art.

Prince candidate Gerald Adkins performed spoken word for his portion. His poem, titled “There’s Nothing More Beautiful than a Black Woman,” praised the body and personalities of black women he’s known and seen.

“She has the wisdom of a queen, of a king, but she still knows she’s a woman,” he said.

Jurdene Ingram, a princess candidate, performed a color guard flag routine. The audience cheered and shouted whenever she executed a difficult move.

Basing their decisions on talent, energy, technique and responses, judges made their choices.

  • Sophomore justice studies major Drew-Oumassi Collins won king.
  • Sophomore theater major La’Nette Searcy won queen.
  • Freshman pre-business major Tajuan Howard won prince.
  • Freshman fashion merchandising major Alexandria Styles won princess.

Last year’s winners presented the crowns to this year’s winners.

Following the pageant, the tables were pushed out of the way, and the ball began.

Contact religion and minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at [email protected]