Immaculate, idyllic and inspiring; these are the perfect words to describe the “Men of Honor,” and the participants of the Third Annual Mr. Crimson and Cream Scholarship Pageant, held on Feb. 13. The pageant was hosted by the ladies of the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and held in the Talley Student Center Ballroom. The reception began with a live band providing a smooth, mellow atmosphere, along with beautiful flower arrangements, candles and sweet refreshments. To start off the pageant hosts, Colleen Gillis and Justin Ratliff, both seniors in sociology, introduced the panel of judges and participants.
The participants were Kadeem Myrick, a junior in business administration, Anthony Kulukulualani, who is a pre-medical senior in biological sciences, Gabriel Ross, a senior in arts applications, Joaquin Green a freshman at St. Augustine’s College in mathematical engineering, and Keyuntae Ward, a sophomore in communication. For the opening number the men entered the ballroom wearing all black attire with a dash of crimson in their ties and each with roses to give to a special lady in the audience.
The pageant and judging was based on five categories: poise, performance, creativity, style and audience participation. For the first part of the show, the participants performed in small skits, which gave the audience and judges their idea of the perfect date. The skits were quite humorous, and the participants received a lot of “Aww’s and “How cute!” comments from the audience. “The perfect date” theme presented by the participants ranged from spending tons of money on their soon to be wives to romantic rides on elephants in Africa.
The talent segment of the pageant was very impressive and well-liked by the audience. Myrick presented a beautiful poem by Langston Hughes entitled “Dream Variations.” Kulukulualani recited President Barack Obama’s famous victory speech, given on the night of the president’s election. Ross put on an incredible original comedy, in which he did entertaining impersonations of President Barack Obama and Lil’ Wayne. Green performed an original, intense poem which he called “Oration of a Slave,” in which he came into the ballroom shirtless and barefooted giving the rendition of an actual slave. Finally, Ward showed the judges his talent, as well as his passion for his family, through a song dedicated to his inspirational mother and his cousin who passed away from cancer. Shortly after the talent presentations, a duet of the song “Endless Love” was performed by junior in science education, Marquis McCullough and Markita Henry. The participants flaunted their formal attire while escorted by their guests to the stage for a final questionnaire round.
The question portion of the pageant was probably the most difficult for the contestants, because they had to provide a thorough and thoughtful answer to a random question they picked from a jar. Kulukualani was asked if he believed that now since we have an African-American man as our president, if people expect more from African-Americans and people of color. “I do not believe people expect more from African-Americans, but I do believe that it means that African-Americans can achieve the same values and dreams as our president and those values and dreams are realistic and attainable regardless of race, background, etc.” Each of the participants gave inspiring and moving answers to questions.
Ryan Moseley, a freshman in communication said, “The pageant is a way to showcase a few of the young minorities that are striving to make a difference in our community.” The pageant participants were all recognized as young men who have all made a positive impact on their college campus and surrounding community. Before the presentation of the awards, pageant host, Justin Ratliff said, “I was sitting in class, and I just kept thinking about these men and the hard work they have done to prepare for this pageant; I wrote a poem, which I consider to be an ode to them.” The poem basically told the participants that he would be proud to one day see all of them, standing next to him, all as magnificent, strong black men that have made a difference in the world. As a result, Myrick was given the Mr. Congeniality award, and was the first runner-up as well. Joquain Green was given the Spirit Award and Keyuntae Ward was named second runner-up. Anthony Kulukulualani was crowned the 2009 Mr. Crimson and Cream. The pageant was extraordinary and a great program, which especially helped set the mood for Valentine’s day.