Keilah Davis | Correspondent
The 2016 Pan-Afrikan Pageant crowned Jordan Williams and Angelica Alston as Pan-Afrikan King and Queen on Tuesday, April 5.
The Pan-Afrikan Pageant is a Pan-Afrikan Week tradition where students showcase their talents and compete for the title of king or queen.
“It’s a cool thing to be part of something like this. There’s a really rich history here. A lot of people have been Pan-African King so I’m pretty excited about it,” Williams said.
Jordan Williams, a sophomore studying communication, and Angelica Alston, a senior studying fashion and textile management, received the highest scores from a panel of judges.
Nine contestants were featured in the pageant and displayed this year’s Pan-Afrikan Week theme: Rooted. Contestants introduced themselves, shared their future plans, performed their talent, and articulated their opinions on big issues.
The show began with a group performance of an adapted poem entitled “Rooted.” Another major theme of the evening was sankofa, which means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch that which you have forgotten.”
“[Sankofa] was one thing that was drilled in us every single week. It’s understanding your history and the things I think we easily forget when we get older when life hits us,” Williams said. “I think going back and fetching [means] understanding what’s been done before you and how you can continue to do that and how you can better it economically, politically, and socially. That’s what it’s all about.”
Contestant’s future aspirations ranged from politics to entrepreneurship. Williams said he desired to become a journalist and bring integrity back to media. Alston said she wanted to become a world renowned designer for all shapes and sizes.
Williams won the crowd during the talent segment with his guitar and musical rendition of “Africa”.
Tori Vick, a freshman studying architecture said, “I liked it a lot. I’ve never gone before so I went in with an open mind. All the contestants were talented but my favorite part was [Jordan’s] singing.”
Alston showcased her fashion collection entitled “Rooted Through Sankofa.” Models strut her designs on stage and Alston walked out last to explain why Pan-Afrikan Week was important to her.
“Pan-Afrikan Week is important for the community because we may be small in numbers on campus, but we are definitely loud with our voice and loud with our presence. We put on events all the time to celebrate our culture not only for ourselves but to invite other people to celebrate our culture with us,” Alston said.
Other talents included drumming, spoken word and rap. The pageant is a representation of the black excellence that exists on our campus and in our community, giving students an opportunity to show their best talents.
“It was such a cool process. When we were in the back, we all huddled up knowing that whoever won, we really didn’t care as long as we stayed friends. I believe that’s gonna happen,” Williams said.