The Mu Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., will host the Miss Black and Gold Pageant, its annual scholarship pageant, on Nov. 1. The Miss Black and Gold Pageant consists of female students who are in good academic standing with the university competing for the title to represent the fraternity.
Fraternity member Justin Keys works as the pageant director.
“We’ve been working very hard over the last few months to get our 14 contestants ready for Sunday,” Keys said. “We have a lot of surprises and things that traditional pageants wouldn’t have.”
The pageant includes swimwear, talent and evening gown categories, as well as an on-stage question. The winner of the pageant gets the chance to compete against the other schools in the state and then in
the regional or national pageant. Last year’s winner, Lenzie Blake, a senior elementary education major, qualified for the state pageant and placed first runner-up. Blake said the title allowed her to show the young women and girls from her neighborhood and surrounding areas that anything is possible.
“The title of Miss Black and Gold is so much more than just a title to me,” Blake said. “This crown means that I have a way to really publicize the issues that matter to me while being supported by the strong and phenomenal men of Alpha Phi Alpha, more specifically the Mu Xi chapter housed here at Southern Miss.”
As Miss Black and Gold, Blake promoted her platform Queens Uplifted as well as support for children with autism. She worked with organizations on campus as well as in the community to bring awareness to autism.
“The ultimate goal of Queens Uplifted is to serve as a support system for all women, especially those who fail to see just how beautiful they truly are,” Blake said. “It is my vision to see women of all ethnicities and backgrounds accepting themselves and having the confidence.”
The 2015 pageant contestants will also have the chance to promote positive causes.
Each contestant was required to raise a minimum of $200. To supplement these funds, people attending the pageant can donate money to the contestant of their choice, as well as vote via text for the People’s Choice Award.
“Ten percent of what we make will go to our top philanthropy which is March of Dimes,” Keys said.
The Miss Black and Gold pageant presents entertainment that promotes scholarship and community. It is open to all students and will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Thad Cochran Center Ballrooms.