Alpha Kappa Alpha to host Miss Black Western

Kayla Swanson

Jessica Nichols, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority president, described this year’s Miss Black Western pageant participants as “a very exciting bunch.”

“They’re very enthusiastic, and I really see they have a lot of fun when they’re actually practicing,” said Nichols, a junior from Potomac, Md.

Nichols believes those who attend the pageant, which is hosted by the AKAs, on April 20 will have an “emotional attachment” with the participants.

“These girls are so unique,” Nichols said. “A lot of them are just brilliant girls.”

Miss Black Western began in 1971, when black women were not allowed to be on Homecoming court or crowned Homecoming queen, Nichols said.

The winner of the pageant will not only be crowned Miss Black Western, but will also receive a book scholarship for one semester paid for by the AKAs, Nichols said.

The pageant will consist of an opening dance where each woman will give her introduction, model business and spring attire, perform a talent, model an evening gown and recite her personal narrative.

After the evening-gown modeling, the group of 14 women will be narrowed down to five. The top five will then participate in a question and answer session, and a winner will be chosen.

Pageant participants have different reasons as to why they want to compete to be crowned Miss Black Western.

“I realized that it would be a good opportunity to get involved,” said Jacarri Fitzpatrick, a freshman from Jeffersonville, Ind.

Fitzpatrick heard about the pageant through Shirelle Williams, a sophomore from Jeffersonville, Ind., who participated in the pageant last year.

Fitzpatrick said practices began with participants writing and memorizing their introductions and narratives. They recently finished learning the choreography for the opening number and are now working on their individual talents for the pageant.

“It’s a cool atmosphere to be in just because everybody is having fun while they’re doing it — nobody is really complaining,” Fitzpatrick said. “The AKAs are super nice about everything, but they take this event seriously.”

Louisville freshman Chelsea Knight-Milton, who heard about the pageant from a friend who is in AKA, chose to compete in the pageant in order to feel more independent.

“Normally, I’m like always with my friends like doing everything with them, and this time I just wanted to do it for me,” she said.

Nichols hopes those who attend will have a fun time and be enthusiastic about seeing the girls compete.

“They can expect a good show — it’s very entertaining,” Nichols said. “Talent is my favorite part of it.”

Doors to the Downing University Center Auditorium open at 6:30 p.m., with the pageant beginning at 7:08 p.m. Tickets for the pageant will be sold, but the cost is to be determined.