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Love is in the air for AACC pageant

By Zarrin Ahmed
On February 17, 2013

  • Jon Kulakofsky/The Daily Campus. UConn freshman guard Omar Calhoun attempts a three-pointer in a recent game against Villanova at the


Sophomores Sloan Wilson and Shantel Honeyghan were crowned winners of the Mr. and Ms. African American Cultural Center Pageant Friday night at the Student Union Ballroom. 

From performances that included raps and guitar solos to evening wear and a question and answer session, the eleven competitors showcased themselves to judges in a true pageant style. By impressing the judges and their peers in the audience, Wilson and Honeyghan both took home crowns.

With a theme titled "Love With All Your Heart," the pageant took place just a day after Valentine's Day and was decorated by many red and pink heart balloons. In front of dozens of students, seven women competed for the title of Ms. AACC and four men participated to be crowned as Mr. AACC.

Director of the AACC and affiliate professor Dr. Willena Price, who organized a majority of the event, began the show with an introduction and welcome, presenting the master and mistress of ceremonies, Justis Lopez and Vicki Daniel. Lopez and Daniels asked the crowd to cheer for the judges of the pageant for taking their time that night to crown a winner: Assistant Dean of Fine Arts Dr. Ted Yungclas, President of the African American Faculty Dr, Shayla Nunnally, Hall Director Jordan Turner, Director of PRLACC Ms. Fany Hannon, Hall Director Joliana Yee, and Mrs Amanda Canada from the Institute for African American Studies.

After an introduction of the contestants, Isaiah Jamal Jacobs performed the poem "Love With All Your Heart." The first portion of the pageant was casual wear, where contestants showed off their style in everyday outfits. Next came the talent portion of the night. Kicked off by the first contestant, Alyssa Hughes, the crowd was treated to singing and guitar playing, ending with some slam poetry by the freshman. Next was Chelsea Murray who spit some raps and got the crowd chanting the "Huskies" chant. Richard Miller took the stage after with an electric guitar solo and although there were technical difficulties, the crowd clapped along to build up spirit. 

Alexis Russell began her talent by playing a tune on the keyboard and then dancing with a partner, taking on stunts and lifts that had the crowd amazed. All Stars stepper Richard Miler decided to show off his stepping skills with two back up dancers. Jovonne Pullen incorporated singing and spoken word into her routine, while Sloan Wilson signed the American Sign Language to the song "Imagine" by the cast of Glee and Honeyghan did a spoken word skit that began with stuttering the letter "I." Jalisa Williams translated a Spanish poem into English and Crystal Lewis sang "Saving All My Love" by Whitney Houston. Last but not least, Kenneth Miller showed the audience an entirely self-made video with music, shots of scenes from around UConn, and narration of his thoughts. 

Before the formal wear portion of the night, the hosts invited attendees to do the Cha Cha Slide with them, getting almost twenty students to dance in the middle of the floor. After the contestants answered some questions about life goals, volunteer work, helping people, and causes that they are invested in, the judges conferred to name a winner and their two runners up.  Second runners up included Miller and Hughes, and in second place were Smith and Lewis.

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