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BSU Pageant Celebrates Harlem Renaissance

Celebrating the influential leaders of the Harlem Renaissance era, this year’s Black Student Union pageant embraced the African American legacy by naming this year's event, “A New Age Renaissance.” On November 10, kicking off the busy Homecoming weekend, pageant contestants competed for king, queen, prince, princess and Mr. Congeniality by displaying their unique and artistic talents.

2006 BSU Pageant

The silly humor of Kendrick Burris and Enchanta Jackson, the pageant’s hosts, entertained the audience throughout the night. To begin, contestants were given an historical character of the Harlem Renaissance, which they had to emulate as they discussed a brief history of the individual's life. However, to incorporate the new age renaissance, contestants battled it out on stage as they danced to various hip-hop songs, mixing the old and new artistic forms of each era.

Contestants were given the opportunity to exhibit their talents in the showcase portion of the pageant. Such acts included dancing, miming, spoken word, singing and belly dancing. “I particularly enjoyed Jonathan Johnson's ‘Do you feel the rhythm?’ Amber Stanton's fashion show and Breon Thomas's dance routine,” said Tunde Oluyitan, a senior in attendance. “They were all very creative and unique.”

Other events included the career walk, in which contestants dressed in their best for the working environment. In the walk of fame, contestants were given an opportunity to really impress the audience. Each contestant was allowed to parade through the audience dancing, singing or performing skits while accompanied by a relative or friend. The audience cheered the contestants on as they made there way to the stage in style. Like most pageants, the Q&A section gave contestants a chance to show off their intellect and speaking abilities.

At the conclusion of the pageant, the judges’ votes were tallied. The winners of the 2006 BSU Pageant were Demetrius Russell for king and Mr. Congeniality, Djuan Trent for queen, Victor Henry for prince and Princess Nash for princess. All winners are required to complete community service hours in order to hold their positions until next year’s pageant. The runner ups were Shani Glsby, Jessica Gardner, Jonathan Johnson, Erica Matthews, Amber Stanton and Breon Thomas; all received scholarship money that could be used towards books or paying term bills. "I liked how we worked through our adversity and we achieved what some people thought we couldn't," said Russell.

This year’s pageant was made possible through the coordination of Santana Lipscomb, Ciequinita Vaughn and Nekeisha Stewart, all students of Berea College. All contestants were required to raise funds for props and other materials. For next year’s pageant there will be a new head coordinator nominated, but Lipscomb intends to lend her support to next year’s production as well. “I thought this year’s pageant went smoothly and very well,” said Lipscomb. “We all three intend to lend our support.”

The work of contestants and coodinators combined to create an glamorous and entertaining performance to exhibit Berea's pride in its Black Student Union.

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