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Rep Yo City: The Mr. & Miss Howard University Pageant Returns For Its Annual Competition

Eight contestants compete for the prestigious title of the 48th Mr. Howard University and the 86th Miss Howard University.

Royal Court candidates pose on the stage in Cramton Auditorium. Photo Courtesy of Michael Millison.

The Howard University Elections Commissions hosted the Mr. & Miss Howard University pageant, ending the nine-day-long Royal Court pageants and campaigns.  

In a crowd of nearly 1,600 people on March 26, students filled the seats of Cramton Auditorium to support their classmates who were competing for membership in the Royal Court. 

The pageant featured eight undergraduate contestants who showcased themselves in different rounds: an opening dance number, introductions, platform speeches, talent, biography walks and a Q&A from the current Mr. And Miss Howard, Mahlon West and Armani Washington.

The Royal Court of Howard University is a unique group composed of students who serve as campus royalty under the leadership of their Leadership Team and Advisory Board, according to the student affairs website. The purpose of the Court is to encourage campus leadership through platform initiatives, with an integration of community service and campus life.

The ladies and gentlemen of the Court are elected to represent the best of character, school pride, campus ambassadorship and the embodiment of the four pillars of Howard University: leadership, excellence, truth and service.

During the introductory round, the contestants enthusiastically greeted the audience and introduced themselves, their hometowns, and the goals they aspire to achieve if crowned. 

Afterward, platform speeches commenced, focusing on community service or school-wide issues that contestants desire to bring attention to, such as alumni connections, student unification and mental health.

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The talent portion took the audience by storm. School organizations such as QUAD Step, Models Of The Mecca, The GENESIS Models, and members of the HU Community Choir rallied to support their candidates. Participants showcased their strengths through testimonials, singing, choreographed dances, modeling and spoken word.

Contestant number eight, Gregory Allen Jr., brought the crowd to their feet in applause after sharing a touching sentiment about family, perseverance and his youngest brother Salem.

Janila Henley-Crayton, a sophomore TV & Film major from Chicago, and 2024 Models of the Mecca initiate remarked on how pleased she was with the variety of performances. 

“I liked the overall production and the hosts were great,” she said. “Everyone was beyond talented, but I was so excited to see my modeling family up there.”

However, acknowledgment of talent wasn’t given without some criticism from the audience.

“Certain things I had an issue with, in terms of technical difficulties. Sound was not where it needed to be by any means necessary. Those in the sound booth were missing their cues, and sometimes the mics were on and sometimes they weren’t,” Henley-Crayton continued. “I think it created a very awkward, uncomfortable, and disappointing environment for the participants and the audience, especially because this is the highest anticipated event of the election season.” 

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Student campaign assistant Michael Mollison, a sophomore TV & Film major from Anchorage, Alaska, was photographing the event for his candidate. He said that the show was entertaining, but that production issues caused a major riff.

“It was entertaining, but it would’ve run smoother with better production… They probably should’ve run it through more before show day,” he said. “The candidates pushed forward and handled it well, but I think it affected their morale and their performance. My candidate had to improv on the fly for a lot of unanticipated mistakes, and that’s not fair.”

Despite this, many were still very satisfied with how the night played out. Bryce Knight, a sophomore psychology major from Brooklyn, New York, commented on his favorite aspects of the pageant.

“I enjoyed the theme. It expressed the difference between each component. It showed that even though we come from two different places, the contestants are here to make a change,” he said. “It reminds Black people that wherever you’re from you can make a difference. It allows people to relate and feel hopeful for a new and better future.”

Voting opened on March 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and results will be announced beginning at 12 p.m. on March 29 by the Elections Commission. 

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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