Miss Black Western crowned

Kelly Richardson

Just minutes after the Miss Black Western winner was crowned Thursday, Candace Edwards was in awe.

Edwards said she wasn’t sure who would win and immediately after she was crowned, she was surprised. Smiling and holding flowers, Edwards was surrounded by a herd of friends waiting to celebrate. But it took a while for the crowning moment to settle.

“It went blank; nothing,” Edwards said. “I was happy though, I was relieved it was all over.”

Edwards, a Chicago sophomore, was one of 14 contestants in the pageant in Downing University Center Theater. The pageant was started 33 years ago, and is sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Louisville senior Konika Malone, the AKA president, said the pageant was created because other pageants were usually filled with white contestants.

“We wanted to give African American women a chance to showcase their talents on Western’s campus,” she said.

The pageant is held annually for black females who attend Western.

To enter the contest, students must attend an interest meeting, the first practice for the pageant, and sell $200 worth of ads in the pageant’s program.

The pageant started with the contestants dancing to rapper Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off My Shoulder” and introducing themselves.

The competition then moved to the business wear portion. Contestants strutted across the stage in suits while the master and mistress of ceremonies described the contestants’ clothes and mottos.

The talent portion came next. Contestants showcased a variety of talents that included singing, dancing, reciting poems, piano playing and acting out monologues.

The contestants donned gowns for the formal wear portion and the emcees again explained what they were wearing and their favorite quote. Each contestant also gave a short speach about herself, which was scored separately.

Five finalists were then announced after an intermission.

Hopkinsville freshman Bridgette McCombs, Jocelyn Smith, a junior from Springfield, Tenn., Louisville sophomores Kristyn Williams and LaKeisha Walker were finalists with Edwards.

Only the finalists participated in the question and answer portion, where they were asked the same question by the judges, and were scored on their answers.

All of the contestants were then brought onto the stage, and special awards were given out. Louisville freshman Ebonie Flowers won Miss Perseverance, an award for selling the most ads, and Lexington freshman Brittani Wilson won Miss Congeniality and an award for having the highest grade-point-average among the contestants.

Second runner-up was given to Smith, and McCombs and Walker tied for first runner-up.

“I thought they did an incredible job,” said LaToya Ramsey, an AKA alumna and judge for the pageant and a contestant in 1997. “I thought the overall quality of the show was incredible.”

Reach Kelly Richardson at [email protected]