Annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant celebrates diversity, perseverance

photo courtesy of Vuna Adams III Miss Gold Ashley Forte, Miss Black and Gold Jocelyn Clemons and Miss Black Onyeka Ehie make up the 2012 royal court of the Miss Black and Gold Pageant in Forum Hall on Saturday.

The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hosted the 14th annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant in Forum Hall on Saturday. During the pageant, Jocelyn Clemons, senior in agricultural technology management, was crowned Miss Black and Gold as well as Miss Souvenir Book and Miss Diligence.

“Honestly, I had no idea who was going to win,” Clemons said. “This year was tough
competition because all of the contestants were amazing. I didn’t even
realize I won until my family, friends and sorority sisters were in the
aisle jumping and cheering. It was an unforgettable moment.”

To compete in the pageant, contestants were required to attend an informational meeting in September, followed by etiquette and public speaking workshops. This year’s pageant featured 13 contestants, the same as last year’s.

“Diverse people are portrayed with stereotypes in the media, this pageant helps them break out of those and helps them with their self-esteem,” said Jacar Union, pageant co-coordinator and senior in American ethnic studies and sociology.

During the pageant, contestants competed for the titles of Miss GPA, Miss Talent, Miss Souvenir Book, which goes to the contestant who sells the most ads in support of the pageant, Miss Diligence, the contestant who sells the most tickets to the pageant, Miss Career Wear, Miss Elegance, Miss Dedication, Miss Sisterhood, Miss Swimwear, Miss Black, which is the second runner up, Miss Gold, the first runner up, and Miss Black and Gold, the overall winner.

The diversity of the titles awarded are designed to show a well-rounded woman, not just a beautiful woman.

“It’s not a beauty pageant.” said Craig Swan, pageant co-coordinator and junior in business finance. “It’s about confidence and achievement.”

Another lesson the pageant is meant to teach is perseverance Clemons explained.

“What I learned from competing is to never, ever, give up and to always
work your hardest,” Clemons said. “There may be obstacles, but you have to overcome them
to be successful.”

Clemons said her favorite part of the competition was the formal wear portion. She said that, with the spotlight on her, she felt it was her time to shine and all of the women looked stunning.

The only thing Clemons said she wished she could have changed was the fact that she became ill right before the pageant. 

“[I would] not get sick and lose my voice right before the pageant began,” Clemons said.” But
other than that I believe everything happens for a reason, [I] made
mistakes to learn and do better.”

Next year Clemons will go on to compete at the statewide Miss Black and Gold pageant, the winner of which will attend the Midwest regional pageant. The winner of the regional pageant will compete for the national title next summer at the Alpha Phi Alpha national convention.