Pageant Recalls Harlem's Heydays
Harlee and Hassan-Walton Reign in 2010-2011
By Ashonda Bethea-Ruth
This year's Mr. and Miss Bowie State University showcase was filled with laughs, cheers and flapper dresses. The theme was Harlem 1940s, in the Bulldog Cotton Club, and the showcase was put on in the Center for Learning and Technology as a run up to the April 22 election.
The show was opened by the four Mr. and Miss Bowie contestants, where they came onto the stage in suits and flapper dresses, dancing the swing. Once the dance number was over, each contestant stepped forward to the audience, gave their name, and their position on the ballot.
During a brief break after the introduction, the recent Mr. 1913, Delta Sigma Theta pageant winner Stephan Sertima came to the stage and sang Sam Cooke's song "Nothing Can Change This Love" to the audience, who swooned to his soft smooth voice.
The next segment of the pageant was the business attire, where each candidate came onto the stage displaying their garments, and giving a brief prepared speech on what they thought a good leader is.
The talent segment of the pageant was started off by Avery Pearsall, who sang "If You Leave" by Musiq Soulchild and Mary J. Blige to his female co-star. His setting for his talent was that of a dinner restaurant that came equipped with a hostess and other restaurant goers. He ended his performance with Frankie Beverly's "Before I Let Go," during the audience sang along, getting them excited and ready for more.
Miss Bowie candidate Janay Carpenter's talent was acting, where she recited a monologue in more than one different character.
Miss Bowie State contestant Ayana Harlee, who was named winner of the title for the 2010-2011 school year, performed a dance during the talent segment of the program. Mr. Bowie State contestant Ameer Hassan-Walton, who won the title for the 2010-2011 school year, recited a self-penned poem.
Walton stated that he was less nervous, but more excited for the next day's elections. "Six weeks is a long time," he said, referring to the time he had been campaigning. "Either way it goes, it will be a great result."
The pageant allowed the current Mr. and Miss BSU to reflect on their yearlong reign. A video was shown when the two first won their titles. Both Mr. and Miss Bowie spoke on their happy memories representing BSU, and its Bulldogs.
More entertainment was given to the audience, when BSU dance team Elite Distinction came to the stage, where they a danced a jazz number, with some tap dancing at the very end. After this segment, the SGA candidates came to the stage to speak to the crowd and remind them to vote in the next day's elections.
BSU Prof. Chandra Lipscomb stated that she thought the pageant was well produced and was "especially happy so many students came." She also stated that she hopes to see more candidates next year.
The end of the pageant was the evening wear and question-and-answer segment. Each of the contestants came onto the stage, "strutting their stuff" in their best formal wear, and answered one question each posed by Mr. and Miss Bowie. The questions they received were ones they chose by reaching into a glass bowl.
Newly elected SGA Vice President Jamin Gallman said the pageant helped him to make up his mind.
The event ended with the singing of the school's alma mater, where everyone crossed arms and held hands, swaying back and forth singing with fellow students and faculty.
"It was a very respectful audience," Lipscomb said. "I loved the school spirit."