Friday night was more than glitz and glamour as ladies showcased their talents and poise in the Miss Black and Gold scholarship pageant.
Miss Black and Gold is an annual function hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. This year, the Zeta Omicron chapter had 10 lovely ladies vying for the crown on the stage of Johnston Theatre.
The contestants were critiqued on the following areas: an opening number, achievements and projections, swimwear and creative and performing arts.
Between segments was entertainment from the night’s emcees, Khayla Anson and Bradley James, a poem, performances by the Murray Dance Company and a liturgical dance by former Miss Black and Gold Queen, Elizabeth Hollis.
Jesse Adams, senior from Louisville, Ky., is the chairman for the Miss Black and Gold scholarship pageant. Adams said the Miss Black and Gold Queen has several duties to the fraternity before she can obtain her scholarship.
“The Miss Black and Gold Queen serves as the sweetheart and female ambassador for the fraternity,” Adams said. “In order for her to obtain her scholarship, she must hold two programs.”
He also said the winner of the pageant represents the Zeta Omicron chapter at a state competition.
Before the ladies can compete on stage, they must first go through an information session and interview with the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. Among the honors the contestants can receive are Miss Hospitality, Miss Congeniality, Most Talented, Quarles and Elliot, 2nd Runner Up, 1st Runner Up and the highest honor of Miss Black and Gold Queen.
This year, the title of Miss Black and Gold went to Jharoneé Woods, senior from Paducah, Ky. Woods is a biology/pre-medicine major, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), pre-health professionals and serves as the national Pan-Hellenic treasurer.
Woods said she has always been familiar with the pageant, but had only done behind the scenes work before this year.
“I wanted to wait (to participate) and make sure that if I did win, I was ready to commit to such a serious obligation,” she said. “I didn’t want to just be a contestant, I wanted to be a good candidate.”
Earning the title of Miss Black and Gold Queen requires dedication, as simply winning the contest does not ensure the winner receives her scholarship.
Adams estimated 300 people attended the pageant last Friday night. He said the money raised by the entry fees fund the winner’s competition at the state pageant, programs she hosts and any costs associated with Miss Black and Gold.
Adams said the fraternity likes to include alumni brothers with important roles in the pageant, such as judging.
“We usually choose alumni brothers and past Miss Black and Gold winners because they are familiar with the process and understand the seriousness of the title,” he said.
This year the judges included two former Miss Black and Gold queens and three alumni brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. One of the judges, Aaron Bradford, helped coordinate the pageant as an undergraduate at Murray State. Bradford joined Alpha Phi Alpha in 1997.
“When they called and asked me to be a judge, I was happy to agree,” Bradford said.
Once the winner was crowned, the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha serenaded Woods with their anthem and asked all guests to attend a reception held in Ordway Hall.
Woods will compete in the state competition at Northern Kentucky University in February.