Devin Nobles, the 24th Mister FAMU, has been busy in St. Louis, Missouri, fellowshipping with fellow HBCU kings and competing in the HBCU Kings Leadership Conference over the past weekend. His participation marks the second consecutive year Mister FAMU has attended the conference.
The Kings Leadership Conference brought together a diverse group of HBCU Kings, allowing them to network, fellowship, and exhibit their talents in a friendly competition. With nearly 30 contestants vying for the title of Mister HBCU, Nobles emerged as a standout, making it to the Top 10 in the Preliminaries.
While Nobles was not crowned Mister HBCU, he expressed that his time at the conference was the most impactful moment he’s had since being crowned Mister FAMU.
“This is not just a competition,” Nobles said. “The competition is the cherry on top. The cake is the conference.”
Nobles explained that most of the conference involved forming bonds and completing community service activities with fellow kings.
“Tuesday to Friday, we [the kings] were in fellowship,” Nobles said. “We were in programming, we were doing service, we were talking to our brother kings. We were basically becoming our better selves with each other. Even if I didn’t compete in the pageant, this was my best experience I’ve ever had since becoming Mister FAMU.”
Devin Nobles also acknowledged the unwavering support he received from the 23rd Mister FAMU, Armani D. Jones, whom Nobles expressed was his biggest supporter during the competition.
Armani, the first Mister FAMU to participate in the contest the previous year, emphasized the importance of HBCU representation at conferences like these. He believes that participating in such events elevates the profile of FAMU but also fosters a sense of pride and unity within the HBCU community.
“I think it’s important to have representation at this conference,” Jones said. “Not just for the winning title, but there’s so much camaraderie and brotherhood, networking, and relationship building that you find throughout. We do call ourselves the number one HBCU, and we need to act like that. We need to put ourselves in places we’ve never been before to be able to advance ourselves as an institution.”
Nobles also shared that his motivation for participating stemmed from his conversation with the late Andre Green, the Royal Court Advisor at FAMU. Nobles believed participating was a way to make do with his promise to Green before his passing.
“He [Andre Green] talked to me about it during the Kings and Queens Conference in July,” Nobles said. “I just jokingly said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go, whatever,’ and he said, ‘Alright, Devin Nobles. I’ll hold you to it now.’”
Green passed away shortly after that conversation, and Nobles wrestled with the idea of attending.
“I toed the line between going and not going because I kinda felt convicted since that was something I told him I was going to do, and I would honor him that way,” Nobles said.
Looking ahead, Nobles says he is already planning for the future and wants to encourage fellow students at FAMU to support the next Mister FAMU.
He hopes his successor will also participate in competitions like Mister HBCU. With high aspirations of securing a win in the future, Nobles says he envisions a continued legacy of excellence for FAMU at events that celebrate the leadership and talent within the HBCU community.