Howard University’s African Students’ Association (ASA) held its 15th annual Mr. and Miss Afrique Pageant on Saturday in Cramton Auditorium.
Themed “Beyond the Afroverse,” the event invited guests to attend in their best-dressed traditional African attire to “travel through the rich and timeless scope of The Afro-Verse,” according to the event’s program. The pageant started in 2006 and is held annually.
“We celebrate all of the rich culture that is in the African continent, and we crown somebody to be the reigning champ of the continent,” ASA president Raissa Kora Kodia-Batamio said.
Once elected, the royal leaders represent the current ASA administration. They may implement new programming, outreach, or service to fulfill the promises made during their campaigns.
Kodia-Batamio hopes the event showcases how rich and deep the culture runs and helps spread information about the continent.
“We are very intersectional; we are vast and grand human beings,” she said. “Our culture is very diverse, so I hope people saw that in the performances today, the acts today, the contestants today, and I hope they resonated really deeply with it.”
Families and friends of the contestants, students and former ASA members, and title holders of the respective crowns were in attendance. Judges for the event included former 2006-2007 Miss Afrique Cindy Aribisala, former ASA president Nicholas Wayoe, and current Mister School of Education Quentin Phillip Tyler Price.
Host Uncle August and DJ Iano kept the show running smoothly. The show opened with a skit to introduce the theme of “Beyond the Afroverse,” followed by the introduction of the five students competing for the respective crowns.
Performances by dance teams HU Omoge and GW XOLA, along with a modeling showcase by Genesis Models and a medley from the singing group La Voix Celeste, were interwoven throughout the night to keep the crowd entertained.
The pageant included various segments for contestants to highlight why they would be the best choice for the crown. The event consisted of a platform for cultural and talent segments. Contestants highlighted an African public figure that they admired. The platform portion saw each introduce their potential platforms and goals for ASA.
The cultural portion included the performance of traditions from various African cultures, including an Igbo bride’s traditional dance and a battle between Ethiopian warriors. The talent portion included singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, and a live DJ set. Lastly, announcers detailed each candidate’s background and asked them questions about their platforms.
After a brief intermission for scores to be tallied, the winners were crowned by the 2022-2023 Miss Afrique, Hilary Kangethe, and Chisom Anyaegbunam. The crown for Mr. Afrique went to sophomore biology major Somtochukwu Agbasi and to junior health science major Eniola Borishade for Miss Afrique.
On participating and winning [the pageant], Agbasi called it “an experience.” “I never would have thought I would be here today, but I worked through it, I strived, and I got it. So just never stop believing,” he said.
Chioma Okolo, a junior biology major and chemistry minor from Chicago, thoroughly enjoyed the show.
“I thought it was executed really well,” she said. “Everything was really bomb. It’s definitely something every Howard student should experience, [whether] African American or African or African in the diaspora.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew
***Correction: The Hilltop previously referred to the organization as the “African Student Association” instead of the correct name, “African Students’ Association.” The article has been edited to reflect that.***