Alpha Phi Alpha kick-started Homecoming weekend Friday with its 29th annual Miss Black and Gold pageant.
The pageant is an annual scholarship program hosted by The Zeta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. The chapter held the event in Wrather Auditorium with nine contestants competing for the crown.
In the end, it was Morgan Pearson, junior from Louisville, Ky., who was crowned Miss Black and Gold 2013.
“It feels amazing,” Pearson said. “There was so much hard work put into it and all the girls did amazing as well. It’s really great. Now I can go on to compete in state.”
Marqus Veasey, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, started the night with the invocation and Charzetta Pittman, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The pageant continued with a dance routine performed by the contestants joined by last year’s queen, Katie McAllister, senior from Murray.
The dance routine was the first performance in which the contestants were critiqued and scored by the judges. Other areas included: achievements and projections, swimwear, creative and performing arts, poise and appearance and oral expression.
After each contestant performed, the judges’ scores were tallied. Aside from winning the pageant and being crowned Miss Black and Gold Queen 2013, the winner received a $500 scholarship.
The first award of the night was second runner-up, awarded to Morgan Moore, freshman from St. Louis. The first runner-up was Sharda Bettis, who also won the Most Talented award. Bettis also won the Quarles and Elliot award, voted on by the brothers of the fraternity. Bettis also received the Miss Congeniality award, which is voted on by the contestants. The final award of the night was the Spirit of Alpha, given to Tanelle Smith, freshman from Henderson, Ky., for selling the most advertisements for the event.
“At the beginning, you go through an interview, and then they choose the contestants, then you go to a chapter meeting where you pick your Alpha coach, and they tell you the practicing hours and you start practicing,” McAllister said.
There’s a lot of prepping prior to the show but that’s just the beginning for the winner.
“After the pageant, Miss Black and Gold gets to go and compete at state, and meet other Miss Black and Gold contestants,” McAllister said. “It’s a fun experience. It was cool to see what these girls went through to get there, and me as well.”
McAllister said: “This year, I’m looking forward to someone taking the crown and being as happy as I’ve been.”
Story by Brandon Cash, Staff Writer