Crowning Mr. and Mrs. Africa

Photo by Jasmine Pacheco.
Photo by Jasmine Pacheco.
Photo by Jasmine Pacheco.

The SUNY New Paltz African Student Union (ASU) will host their second annual Mr. and Mrs. Africa Pageant on Nov. 23 in SUB MPR at 5 p.m.

ASU group members will present a pageant exhibiting traditional cultural values of Africa’s “lesser-known” countries, ASU’s Media Coordinator and fourth-year computer engineering and black studies double major, Monique Bailey said.

Bailey said that although the event has the word “pageant” in the title, the group doesn’t want it to be perceived as a “beauty pageant” per se. She said the pageant structure is more of a skit,  meant to be more informative than judgmental or competitive.

The skit revolves around a life-changing decision in a young African prince’s life: his family choosing his bride-to-be. Seven of the finest princesses of Africa are presented to him, the king, queen and their chief advisors for consideration.

Of the seven lovely princesses presented, only one is suitable to be named the next queen. These potential queens must present their favorable qualities to the royal family and their closest advisors in an attempt to claim their spot on the throne.

Each of the princesses will be dressed in traditional clothing and will be given a chance to showcase a special talent, Bailey said. Through song and dance, each will be given a chance to exemplify their allure to the judges. Bailey said some contestants will demonstrate time-honored praise singing and dancing, customary to traditional values.

“In African culture the king and queen have very close chief advisors,” Bailey said. “They would have a specific criteria for judging the girls.”

President of ASU, third-year business marketing major Andre Smith, said that each of the girls will represent a different country, which helps to support the overlying theme of the event. He said that there are more than 720 countries and languages spoken in Africa and that a vast majority of them are overlooked. Smith said he feels the pageant can serve as a more fun and interactive way to inform people about the vast diversity that exists throughout the entirety of the continent, not just its “more popular” countries.

Smith said he is looking forward to the event. The ASU has been preparing diligently to create a smooth running, educational and fun event for the public to indulge in. He said he can hardly wait to see all of their hard work come together, and seeing that happen is going to be “the best feeling in the world.”

“It’s another way we can educate our peers, instead of just learning in a classroom,” Smith said.