2017 Mr. and Ms. Black UK crowned


Students participated in the Mr. and Ms. Black UK contest in Memorial Hall on Thursday, October 5, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Kene Amadife | Staff

Kendell Hutchinson

The 2017 Mr. and Ms. Black UK were crowned on Thursday evening at Memorial Hall.

JuWan Page and Janessa Colquitt took home the titles this year.

The Mr. and Ms. Black UK Pageant was founded in the late 1980s by the Mu Epsilon chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. It is now a collaborative event with the Black Student Union, according to the homecoming website.

It is an opportunity for UK students to represent diversity and showcase their talents, as well as compete for scholarships.

This year’s theme was “Welcome to Wakanda,” named after a fictional Bantu nation in the Marvel comic books, “The Black Panther.” This theme acted as a symbol of black empowerment to encourage and inspire students of color on campus. A movie based on the comics will be released in February.

The pageant featured an opening dance number, future career and aspirations, talent and a formal question category. The six contestants showed personality and drive throughout each category.

Talents ranged from Jasmine Howard-Wilson’s exhilarating tribal dance number to Colquitt’s monologue.

During the formal question category, Colquitt was asked what the title of Ms. UK meant to her. She said it meant representing a minority, and “stepping out, stepping up or showcasing dignity.”

UK Delta Sigma Theta president Deja Jackson said this pageant is necessary to represent the talent and excellence of minorities on campus.

Events like this pageant allow students to share their “black excellence,” UK student Johnte Lipford said.

This pageant also allowed students to speak out about issues on campus. Page was asked what he felt the biggest issue for minority students on campus was. He said that while it is easy to fall into friend groups or social circles, the most important thing minority students can do is focus on “character over reputation.”

Homecoming 2017 festivities will continue throughout the weekend, including when the UK football team faces Missouri on Saturday.