January 26, 2020
Leila Lawson was crowned Miss Black and Gold 2020 Friday night.
That night, five other women competed not just for a scholarship, but for the honor of being Miss Black and Gold 2020.
Zeta Nu is Eastern’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., an intercollegiate fraternity for African American men.
The fraternity, founded in 1906, “has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world,” according to the organization’s website.
In an effort to support the women in their community, the fraternity brothers hold the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Competition each year at many of the colleges where chapters are in place.
Contestants performed in a series of modeling events including business wear, lifestyle and fitness wear, and evening wear.
Each woman also presented a performance piece, from public speaking to dance, which they had to write.
This year, there were six contestants: Aaliyah James, accounting major, Leila Lawson, biological sciences major, Elishia Wright, psychology major, Sihile Mwalongo, economics major, Hannah Moore, biological sciences major, and India Lofton, pre-physical therapy major.
After a performance by the Unity Gospel Choir, each contestant introduced herself and informed the judges of what three traits she believed Miss Black and Gold should possess.
The Master and Mistress of Ceremony, Ja’wan Emmons, a Zeta Nu alumnus, and Leah London, elementary education major, introduced themselves as the contestants changed outfits for the business wear competition.
After the six women modeled their professional outfits, the African Student Association Dancers performed as the contestants changed outfits yet again.
For the lifestyle and fitness division, the women modeled swimsuits.
Each one carried a prop of some kind, whether it was a parasol, a cell phone or bubbles to blow out over the crowd.
Once the women had changed outfits again, they each presented their performance pieces.
Most of them used this platform to speak out about an issue that was important to them, such as feminism or colorism through spoken word performance or dance.
Before intermission, Eastern’s Couture Models performed and walked down the runway, modeling various all-black outfits.
When the audience returned after intermission, the six contestants entered individually for the evening wear section of the competition.
They each had to answer one question pertaining to issues in the current political or social climate, often especially relevant to African American communities.
Miss Black and Gold 2019 returned to crown this year’s winner, and she spoke briefly to congratulate all the girls and reflect on her time as their “pageant mom.”
After the judges had finished their consideration, the winner was announced.
Now that Lawson has won this competition, she said she will continue on to future pageants with further opportunities to win scholarship money.
Elizabeth Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]
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