Words by: Chazre’ Hill
Photos Courtesy of Florida A&M University
The only sound heard through Florida A&M University’s Lee Hall was the clicking of heels as FAMU students sauntered through Lee Hall auditorium. Women in cocktail dresses and men in their suits entered the doors and waited to be escorted to their seats. Once the elevator doors opened up to the second level, courts from an array of organizations were in rainbows of pink, blue and sequin gowns. They took their seats as they waited to greet Florida A&M University’s new queen.
When the curtains were drew, two large chairs for Mister and Miss FAMU surrounded by bouquets of orange and green flowers sat center stage. Surrounding them were accompanying chairs for the royal court to sit. The program began with a crew of trumpet players, similar to army men. They marched on to the stage and a crescendo of sounds elevated the excitement. It was almost time.
Theater Performance and Facilities Management Student, Jamel Booth, sat in the center seat of the second level, “The best seats in the house,” as he called them. No stranger to Lee Hall, he watched attentively to the way the announcer read the biographies and how gracefully Dominique L. James floated across the stage in her final walk as 108th Miss FAMU.
“I thought the event was very pretty,” Booth said.
From freshman attendant to graduate attendant, each young lady in a strapless green gown and gloves glided down the aisle holding flowers in one hand and endearingly clutching their escort with the other. Though each young lady came from different backgrounds, they all had one thing in common: Love. Their biography expressed the love that they had for their God, their family, and each other.
First Walk As Royalty
The time had come. It was the moment that Anquinette Taylor and Imir Hall had been waiting on since their reign began on May 2, 2015: Their official entrance as Mister and Miss FAMU.
Hall, a senior public relations student from Miami, Fla., was dressed in all white, a distinct difference from the male escorts who wore black. In Hall’s speech, he detailed his service. As a former vice president for Progressive Black Men, Inc. and former junior class president, he proudly said that Mr. FAMU was his next step in leadership.
In addition to service, in Hall’s speech he encompassed the fact that he is aware of the police brutality tragedies that are going on. Being from Miami, Fla., he acknowledged the responsibility he held as an educated black man.
Kamille Way and Imir Hall have attended elementary school and church together for as long as she can remember. She made sure that she was there to support her friend at what he called his “most momentous milestone thus far.”
“Overall it was a really good coronation,” said Brittany Newborn, senior public relations student from West Palm Beach,Fla.
Way stood and cheered as Hall ascended to the throne. “I loved watching my friend from home receive his crown,” Way said.
Hall even acknowledged the support of his friends from Miami in his speech. He wanted his position as Mr. FAMU to permanently change the way that people from Miami are seen in Tallahassee.
“We get a bad rep here,” Hall said. “We aren’t all just thugs.”
One Hundred and Nine
“Please stand to salute our One Hundred and Ninth Miss Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University,” the announcer boasted on the microphone over cheers of family and friends.
Affectionately known as “Annie,” you could hear cheers and applause when she strode to the stage to stand next to her King. The “Oohs” and “Ahhs” built anticipation. “How does she look?” I thought. “What does her dress look like?”
As Annie ascended to center stage, the studded belt on her white dress glistened in the light of Lee Hall. Her gown was strapless and fitted to her body then flared down to ruffles at the bottom. The dress was so full that Hall had to hold her train as she walked to her throne.
While Hall’s speech held a revolutionary spirit, Annie’s speech was sentimentally driven. She took the audience back to her freshman year when she watched the 106th Miss FAMU, Jasmine Yates, get crowned. Taylor’s anecdote inspired others and she told the audience to never listen to that voice that tells you “You can’t do it,” because she was a living testament. She waved gracefully with her free hand as the royal scepter occupied the other.
The coronation of the Royal Court was extravagant to say the least. It
was prim, posh, and stylish. Just a few months ago, students were picking sides:
“I’m not voting for Imir”
“I don’t want Annie as my Miss FAMU”
But here at Lee Hall, it was a celebration. No one picked sides, no one tore anyone down, and the negativity came to a halt.
“It was a nice kick off for homecoming because I believe homecoming is all about unity and that’s what this event showed,” Booth said.