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Coronation Celebrates Mr. and Miss Bowie State University

Poetry, Music, Dance Reflect Theme: “Ignite, Evolve, Prevail”

By Ravven Evans

Marissa Massey and Rajah Hilliard were crowned Mr. and Miss Bowie State University on Oct. 14 in an elaborate ceremony that kicked off the 2014 Bowie State University Homecoming celebration.

Marissa wore a white gown, which dazzled with diamonds. Rajah wore a well fitted white jacket and black slacks.

The coronation started with remarks by Dr. Artie Travis, vice president for student affairs, and Anne Valentine, interim assistant director of Student Life, who welcomed parents and students to the program and give special thanks to people worked to make the coronation happen.

After the opening remarks, Poetic Justice took the stage and read the poem, “We Must Paint the Picture.” The poem was very intense and mind blowing for the audience. He ended the piece saying, “BSU I’m just the messenger,” which was smooth and calm but also real.

Another performer, India Shelton, talked about how some blacks feel about their skin color. Shelton said that some African Americans feel like their skin looks like dirt or darkness. Joseph Britto then appeared on stage to ask a question posed by the late Malcolm X: “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?”

A few moments later, Brandon Gamble sang Mali Music’s, “I Believe,” while he delivered a poem called “What’s the Worth?” In the poem, he asked the audience what is a black man’s worth in this world.

Sheila Matthews and Kyle Jones took the stage to declare their love for their physical appearance. Sheila affirmed how she loves her skin, curves, nose, lips, hair, and how she sees herself as a black queen. While Kyle said that he loves himself and that he is black and proud.

During the “Evolve” portion of the program, Ambre McNeal covered Lauryn Hill’s “I Get Out.” Kristol McKnight recited a portion of Maya Angelou’s iconic poem, “And Still I Rise.” Other performers during that segment of the show included Ryan Brock, Javan Carter, Jasmine McKoy, Amiyah Holley, Bennett “BJ” Gamble and Julian McCormick, who recited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”

The “Prevail” segment started off with a dance performance of “What a Wonderful Word” by Shaneace Virgil. She was followed by 2013-2014 Miss Bowie State Erica Johnson and Mr. Bowie State Darius Gwynn. Erica wore a black dress that sparkled under the lights and Darius wore a black suit.

 The 2013-2104 kings and queens of Bowie State University said their farewell to student and staff at Bowie State. Erica and Darius both shed some tears, but said that it was a great experience and they are grateful and honor to have the opportunity.  They gave thanks to their advisory board, royal court, professors, coaches, organizations, families, and gave their best wishes to Rajah Hiliard and Marissa Massey on their journey as the new Mr. and Miss Bowie State.

This year’s kings and queens took their places on stage and were followed by the royal court. And then, the moment the audience had been waiting for: the entrance of the 2014-2015 Mr. and Miss Bowie State University.

Marissa was stunning in a beautiful white gown trimmed in diamond-like jewels. Rajah looked handsome in a white jacket and black slacks.

BSU President Mickey L. Burnim and First Lady LaVera Burnim congratulated the new Mr. and Miss Bowie State University. Dr. Burnim told the royal couple to remember their core values, to graduate in four years and to do their very best. 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. presented their sorority sister Marissa with pictures and videos. Meanwhile, members of Black Male Agenda paid tribute to their member, Rajah, by presenting him with a staff that with regal elements. 

Mr. and Miss Bowie State thanked their parents and called them on stage to present them with gifts.  

The ceremony closed with the official crowning of the new royal couple by the former Mr. and Miss Bowie State.