Miss Black and Old Gold takes center stage

Mustangs filled the Student Center Auditorium as the Upsilon Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. presented the annual Miss Black and Old Gold Pageant to the Beauty Pageant to the SMU Community on Friday, January 27th. SMU Sophomore, Christina Jones, took the crown.

The auditorium was filled with students of the Mustang community to cheer on the four contestants. This year’s participants were Jones, and sophomores Mackenzie Thierry, Javon Brown, and Phoebe Omonira.

Jones, a dance major, was elated when announced the winner of the pageant, which is held annually by chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. across the country. For Jones, this win meant more than a crown; it was an accomplishment as a Black woman.

“For Black women, I think it’s a big opportunity to get out there and showcase our talents and show off what we have. “It’s a testament to Black excellence and our success in many ways,” Jones said.

“This has been such a fun night to see Black women embrace their beauty and intelligence: it’s incredibly refreshing,” said Benjamin Jackson, junior majoring in Women and Gender Studies.

Behind the scenes: organizers worked tirelessly to prepare the contestants for the walk, talent show, and question-and-answer portions. Pageant director Yasmin Barnes Jones took some inspiration from her pageant days while incorporating that into what she does now to help young women as such in pageants like these.

“I have always been interested in helping girls with pageants and coaching, and it’s just fun to be around the young ladies; they keep me young and vibrant,” Jones said, “I wish more people got involved because I love the sisters in our community.”

Student leaders across the Divine Nine community at SMU joined the audience to cheer on their peers. Kennedy Coleman, secretary for the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and past president of the Association of Black Students, reacted with joy at the event and glee at watching the young Black women.

“As members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., we were going to come out and support women in this pageant and every contestant. They went outside their comfort zone, and we want to support that and be a part of women’s empowerment,” Coleman said.

Since 1976, the pageant has showcased and highlighted the talent of young Black women, bridging etiquette, and their accomplishments. Contestants showed off skills from dance to literature and answered questions on their experiences as young Black women.

After rounds of talent and questions, Jones won Miss Black and Old Gold. Mackenzie Thierry was the runner-up, and Javon Brown won the audience People’s Choice Award.

The winner of the competition, Jones, heads to Houston later this year to compete in the state pageant competition. If selected, she will compete with other Miss Black and Old Gold winners at the Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. National Convention.