Aaron Thomas | Staff Writer
On Monday night, the Black Students Board held its Mr. and Miss Pan Afrikan Pageant in Talley Ballroom, crowning Stephen Williams and Breanna Powell as the 2014 Mr. and Miss Pan Afrikan.
The pageant is part of the 44th annual Pan Afrikan Week at N.C. State. Christian Faucette and Amira Alexander hosted the event.
Contestants competed in categories including prospective career path, talent, and a question and answer session. The six contestants were N.C. State students Jaci Bradley, Ryan Robinson, Breanna Powell, Stephen Williams, QuiAnne Holmes, and Christopher Belton.
The pageant opened with contestants reciting a found poem entitled ‘Our Legacy Unchained’. Written by N.C. State student Amira Alexander, the poem was inspired by the words of prominent authors, leaders, and journalists whom Alexander “deemed reflected the theme of this year’s Pan Afrikan Week.
Contestants brought their personalities to life as they introduced themselves with personalized entrance music and sharing a favorite quote.
The prospective career path was the first category of the show. Wearing professional attire and carrying accessories such as iPads and briefcases, contestants shared their career goals and influences.
The next portion of the show was the talent competition. Contestant one, Jaci Bradley, flaunted her disc jockey skills on turntables. Ryan Robinson, the second contestant, wowed the audience by playing a song he arranged on his saxophone. Contestant three, Breanna Powell, performed Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’, flaunting her vocal range. Stephen Williams, the fourth contestatnt, shocked the audience with his ability to sing John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ while playing the hit song on the piano. Contestant five, QuiAnne Holmes, performed a captivating interpretative dance performance to Sadé’s ‘Pearls’. The sixth contestant, Christopher Belton, rocked the house on the drum set.
The last opportunity to make an impression on the judging panel and the 200-member audience was the question and answer session. Each contestant came dressed to impress. The female contestants graced the stage in elegant dresses, whereas the males sported colorful ties and jackets. Questions ranged from what was the meaning of the pageant theme to what perception would they change about society.
2013 Pan Afrikan winners Jamael Harrison and Danielle Beyselow were a part of the six-member judging panel.
In addition to winning Mr. Pan Afrikan, Williams was also awarded Mr. Congeniality. Bradley was awarded Ms. Congeniality.
This is the first year the pageant was open to underclassmen students.
Audience members were generally impressed with the showed.
“I thought it was really cool, everyone was really talented,” senior Eboné Mitchell said. “There were a lot of good candidates this year.”
According to Maudie Amos, the talent portion was her favorite part.
“That Stephen, he just took me away. I like a guy that can sing.”
The overall show flowed well, but there was a number of technical difficulties that made the transitions take longer than usual. This could be due to staff members still getting used to the new room, which opened earlier this year.
“Talley needs to get it together,” senior Chelsea Durant stated.