The African Student Association at Florida A&M University crowned its new Mr and Miss ASA on Friday.
P1 pharmacy major Bryant Mutanga and senior political science major Nailah Dugger are now leading their student organization.
After winning, Dugger gave an emotional speech about how much love she has for the other contestants and how excited she is about her new title.
“This is only the beginning,” she said, “and I am proud to serve you all as your Miss ASA.”
The theme of the pageant was “Reclaiming our Empire.” Following an opening group dance number, the night’s contestants vied for the coveted titles of Mr. and Miss ASA through showcasing their talent, traditional wear and ability to answer questions.
Contestants were also given a country to represent for the night. From Kenya to Cameroon, contestants honored their countries through comedic skits, painting, poetry and dance.
Daziyah Sullivan, a junior mechanical engineering major, attended the event and says she really enjoyed herself. She is not a member of ASA but came out to support a few of her friends in the competition.
What she appreciated most about the event was that it felt like a gathering of family. “It’s not a typical, very formal event,” Sullivan explained. “It seems more ‘home-y’ and seems like people are really enjoying it, not just putting up a facade.”
Friday’s event was another way ASA is living out its mission “to showcase the mass influence of Africans throughout the world while also providing a home away from home for students of African descent and those interested in African culture.”
The notion of “home away from home” resonated through the Blue Cross Blue Shield auditorium in the Pharmacy building, even touching the students who don’t identify with a clear African nationality.
It was definitely a family reunion for Oluwakayode Oni: FAMU alumnus, former member of ASA and co-host for the pageant. Oni said that this event was just one of the ways that ASA shares African culture with the FAMUly.
“We like showing our culture,” he said. “When you put it out there, people are gonna want to know. There are people who want to know where they’re from, and we would like to give that knowledge to people.”
Oni also emphasized the organization’s desire to teach non-African students about the beautiful continent of Africa. “We like bringing the culture to people who don’t know about it,” he said. “Because Africa is such a broad continent.
“There so much culture, so much love, so much ethnicity,” he added. “Different races, different languages; There’s so much to learn.”