By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Sunday night at Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniels Student Center eight women will take part in a competition showcasing not only their elegance and talents, but their scholarship and drive.
Starting at 7:06 p.m., the Tau Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated will be presenting the 25th annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant where the contestants are competing for scholarship money. The winner receives $1,500, first runner up receives $1,000 and second runner up receives $500. In addition to cash prizes, there’s also Miss Congeniality chosen by fellow pageant contests, Miss Goodwill given to the contest with the most advertisements sold and Miss People’s Choice for guests donations during the pageant.
Tickets are being sold ahead of the event by Alpha members and contestants as well as at the door. There are two options for admission: $5 for general admission or $10 for V.I.P. including priority seating, an event program and a soul food plate from Sascee’s Southern Eatery.
Edgewater, NJ senior and President of National Pan-Hellenic Council Eriq Hardiman-Rhone is also an Alpha who explained that structure of the pageant as well as what his fraternity will be judging off of.
“Miss Black and Gold is a scholarship pageant hosted not only by Alphas on Baylor’s campus but Alphas world wide,” Hardiman-Rhone said. “The pageant holds a district, regional, and national level within the fraternity judging reflecting on the strength that only a woman can maintain, her poise, her determination, her work ethic all these things come together and are tested to help the women who participate grow and learn more about themselves.”
Dallas sophomore Morgan Walker is one of the eight contestants in the pageant that wanted to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new.
“My interest in participating in the pageant was sparked by my desire to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new,” Walker said. “I heard that the pageant was a great growing experience as well.”
With this year being the 25th annual, according to Hardiman-Rhone, attendants can expect something like a late night church service.
“For those planning on attending we have picked eight of the strongest girls of all varieties to participate this year and their work will leave you breathless,” Hardiman-Rhone said. “I’ve described this 25th annual pageant of nothing short but another late night church service myself. Between receiving fellowship with friends and families and watching the support these fine women have gathered from not only their university but their state and their nation is absolutely amazing.”
From a contestant perspective, Walker knows attendants can expect a show and a unique shine from each contestant.
“You can definitely expect a show,” Walker said. “Each girl brings their own unique shine and I can’t wait for the audience to witness it. This pageant is the true definition of a hard working performance that is sure to keep its viewers intrigued.”
Preparing for the pageant has been quite hectic with practice lasting three hours once a week to now everyday for the past two weeks, but Walker feels as though the great amount of time dedicated to the event will make it perfect. She’s looking forward to Sunday and can’t wait to perform her spoken word piece because it’s from the heart.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family and showing the audience how hard all of us have worked,” Walker said. “I’m also really looking forward to performing my spoken word piece because I feel like it really speaks to my heart.”
Since it’s the 25th annual, new elements have been added to make the event even bigger and Hardiman-Rhone says the audience can expect the contestants to be nothing shy of themselves.
“The prep work between the promotional video and the photoshoot we took a lot of consideration handling for the girls this year, adding elements that we typically haven’t done in the past but for this years pageant main attraction can be perfectly described as just the girls being 100 percent of themselves.”