Woodruff Auditorium was transformed into a glitz and glam haven on Sunday evening for the Black Student Union’s annual Homecoming Pageant.
Kaylisa Estes, the president of the Black Student Union, said that despite the new features and upgrades every year, the Homecoming Pageant is a long-standing tradition.
“We first started this back in the sixties. We started it because we weren’t allowed to be at KU’s homecoming. So we had our own homecoming week, and we always kicked it off with a pageant,” Estes said.
Contestants included Kasi Ross II, a freshman from Wichita; Troy Caldwell-Day, a freshman from Detroit, Mich.; Precious Edgar, a junior from Kansas City, Kan.; Camille Patrick, a freshman from Wichita; and Barbara Arrington, a freshman from Harvey, Ill.
Estes and Cameron Long, the vice president of Phi Beta Sigma, emceed the event. Once the guests shuffled into their seats, Estes and Long thanked everyone for coming to the event and said that the event awards scholarship prizes to the contestants.
After contestants’ introductions, the pageant began with the activewear category, followed by the talent portion.
Patrick performed a spoken word piece titled “The Skin I’m In,” which focused on the struggles and triumphs she has endured.
“The skin I'm in is black, beautiful — the perfect melanin. I hope to live to see the day that more people are genuine,” Patrick said in her piece.
Edgar sang a rendition of Drake’s "Hotline Bling" when she took the stage.
Following the talent portion was an intermission, then the ballroom portion, where contestants wore a formal outfit of their choice.
The interview section was the last portion of the evening. Each contestant was asked to answer the same question regarding a Supreme Court ruling. While each contestant gave their answer, the others waited patiently just outside of the venue.
“The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of employees being able to discriminate and ban dreadlocks in the workplace. Do you feel that this was a fair decision made?” Brianna Chatmon, the pageant director, asked.
Ross, who later won Best Oratory for males, said that he didn’t agree with the ruling.
“I think everything is okay in moderation. If your hair is taken care of and you’re clean and you’re groomed, then I don't feel that dreadlocks are a problem. Also, that's not stopping you from completing the task at work,” Ross said.
After a short break, the emcees presented the results to the waiting crowd and contestants.
“Drumroll please," Long said, drawing out a dramatic pause. "For our Queen, we have Miss Barbara. For our king, we have Mr. Kasi.”