Redefining Royalty: The Journey to the Throne
Mr. and Miss Bowie State University Crowned in Elaborate Ceremony
By Sharleeta Swann
Miss Bowie State University Chevonne N. James and Mr. Bowie State University Bryant M. Stewart and their courts embodied the theme "Redefining Royalty" during Coronation 2009 on Oct. 11 in Samuel L. Myers Auditorium in the Martin Luther King Jr. Communications Arts Center Building.
The elaborate ceremony served as the official introduced of the 2009-2010 king and queen to the Bowie State University community. Along with the presentation of Mr. Bowie and Miss Bowie were the presentations of Mr. and Miss Essence, Tyvie Herbert and Ayana Harlee, and Mr. and Miss Black and Gold, Damien Montgomery and Rehanna Caldwell, serving as the royal court. Kelechi C. Anyanwu, coronation producer and director, welcomed faculty, staff, administrators, students and guests to the program. Special recognition was given to the parents and family of Mr. Bowie and Miss Bowie; BSU President Mickey L. Burnim and Mrs. LaVera L. Burnim, and all of the former kings and queens of Bowie State University.
The well-dressed crowd made the event all the more exciting. Proving that the coronation is a classy and elegant affair, the majority of the guest arrived in semi-formal to formal attire. A lot of thought was put into the production of Coronation 2009. It was done in a tasteful manner and remained entertaining until the very end.
Acknowledging the significance of Bowie State University core values, it was evident that our chosen leaders are likely to uphold the values with dignity. The core values being integrity, accountability, civility, diversity, and excellence were communicated to the audience through several brief theatrical acts. The acts --- taking place during the French Court era, Asian Dynasty era, Gladiator era, Victorian era, and the Egyptian era --- referenced particular historical people and stories of the eras and incorporated the core values. The costumes and props used were absolutely wondering. They were made to coincide with the different eras.
Despite a few mishaps with the microphones, the audience was forgiving and remained enthused. Having "The Journey to the Throne" as a subtitle, the journey through the diverse eras made way for the presentation of all five core values and concluded in revealing Mr. and Miss Bowie in their destination --- Africa.
Playing the theme music from the movie, "Coming to America," Bowie State University Symphony of Soul band provided a thunderous entrance. The orchestra played and the marching band joined in, playing their instruments on the steps in the audience. There was dancing and African flower queens that dropped pedals of flowers for the king and queen to walk on.
Tamisha Jackson, immediate past president of the Student Government Association shared her thoughts on this year's coronation. "I thought tonight was simple and elegant, like previous coronations when I was a freshman. I really enjoyed how different things were incorporated in the land of Africa. I love my alma mater BSU!"
It was clear the audience was enjoying the show by the boisterous laughter, applause and cheers for participants. To support their members, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters supported their members with distinctive calls. The energy of the crowd was outstanding.
Following the presentations from the diverse eras, the crowning ceremony began. During this portion of the ceremony, Mr. and Miss Bowie State University 2008-2009 Jermaine Rawlings and Shanel Gaither bid farewell and congratulated the new king and queen. The audience was then introduced to the class kings and queens as they took their places on stage: Mr. and Miss Freshman, Jovan Greenfield and Modupe Oke; Mr. and Miss Sophmore, Renshaw James and Patricia Macey; Mr. and Miss Junior, David Wills and Teynessa Radcliff, and Mr. and Miss Senior, DeJuan Patterson and Jamestina Watta Sawi. The ceremony went on with the entrance of Mr. and Miss Essence and Mr. and Miss Black and Gold.
The court was followed by a dapper and handsome Mr. Bowie State University Bryant M. Stewart. The highlight of the evening was the entrance of a stunning Miss Bowie State University Chevonne N. James. The king and queen received a standing ovation as they were crowned and President and Mrs. Burnim presented them with a gift.
"The previous Mr. and Miss Bowie represented Bowie State University very well. You were selected because of your talents, intelligence and popularity. Represent Bowie well and honor the core values. We will be supportive," Burnim said.
After brief remarks, the king and queen ascended to their respective thrones as the kings and queens of various campus organizations took their places on stage. Special presentations were made to Mr. and Miss Bowie by the Student Government Association; Sisters of Nia, a female empowerment organization that Miss Bowie co-founded in February 2009, and Delta Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., of which Mr. Bowie is president. The Dancers of Distinction followed with a performance to the song "In the Presence of Royalty" by Byron Cage.
The coronation came to a close with the singing of the Alma Mater led by Trudi-Ann Thompson. Coronation producer and director Kelechi Anyanwu praised Stewart for the concept of the program, especially its theme, eras, and incorporation of the university's core values. "By the time I received the script, all I had to do was find the talent and [establish] scenes. I edited everything to make it what it turned out to be," Anyanwu said. When asked what she thought of the outcome of the coronation, Anyanwu said, "I feel great about the outcome of coronation. I think it was wonderful. Overall it was a great event."
Former Mr. Bowie 2007-2008 Devin Tillman said, "I thought it exemplified the theme of redefining royalty. I'm proud of Mr. and Miss Bowie State University. They will continue on the reign of excellence as Mr. and Miss Bowie."
Several Kings and Queens from other universities made an appearance in support of Mr. and Miss Bowie. Miss Morgan State University Ashley Hines said, "The coronation was beautifully done. I had a good time. I want Chevonne [Miss Bowie] to remember that this is not about her reign, but about reaching other people."
Mr. Morgan State University Julian Benson said, "I enjoyed Mr. Bowie's entrance. I think it showed his personality. I would advise Mr. Bowie to put God first because with God anything is possible."
When asked what the students of Bowie State University should expect from their king and queen, Mr. Bowie confidently stated, "We will put the students first. Define structure, standards and rules. The students should expect us to be consistent and to uphold our promises."