Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. is putting on its 15th annual Miss Black and Gold scholarship pageant for women Saturday at 7:06 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom.
The contestants will compete in subjects including elegance, poise, ability to speak and advertisement sales for a prize of scholarship money, Alpha Phi Alpha President Courtland MacQueenette said.
The fraternity awards a prize of $2150 to the top three contestants: Miss Black and Gold, Miss Gold (first runner-up) and Miss Black (second runner-up).
However, Alpha Phi Alpha thinks the most important part of the pageant is to build confidence, MacQueenette said.
“The importance of it that we believe is being able to empower women,” MacQueenette said, “because we believe that we should be respecting all womanhood and helping to raise them up. So within the pageant we try to inspire great camaraderie as well as sisterhood between the pageant girls.”
The fraternity sees this as an opportunity to guide the contestants and help build them up, MacQueenette said.
“We have a fairly young group of girls this time,” MacQueenette said. “When you’re able to meet with them at their inception to TCU, freshman or sophomore year, it’s a great way to help them on their path because they don’t necessarily have that structure of support always, especially that early. So we try to fill that void.”
Participants in the pageant are asked to create an introductory speech, perform an introductory dance, walk in front of a crowd in swimwear, wear an evening gown and show a talent.
In addition, contestants have to raise $500 in advertisement sales or donations, practice twice a week and maintain dedication, first-year middle school math education major and pageant contestant Jayla Johnson said.
“You have to make time to practice, and if you don’t, it shows,” Johnson said.
David Jones, senior psychology major and vice president and pageant chair for Alpha Phi Alpha, said the pageant seeks to celebrate TCU women and empower them through the whole process.
“The pageant itself is, first off, a scholarship pageant,” Jones said. “It’s a way for women of TCU to earn scholarship money. But it also highlights the women of TCU, praising them for their accomplishments, aspirations, high scholastic standards, as well as just being who they are.”
Shawn Williamson, a junior psychology major and Miss Black and Gold contestant, said participating in the event has given her more self-assurance.
“I actually saw this when I was a freshman, and I always wanted to be in it, but I was kind of scared,” Williamson said. “I’ve definitely gotten a more sense of confidence. I’m able to be comfortable in front of people doing things like dancing, speaking, things I probably never would have done before this experience.”
The main goal of the pageant is to support women on campus and help them push their boundaries, Jones said.
“We welcome all women of TCU,” Jones said. “It’s not just a certain group. We want any woman that wants to take that step that will help them to become better, help them grow individually, help them get out of their comfort zone. That’s what it’s aimed for: to uplift, to help cultivate, to help you become greater.”
Tickets for Miss Black and Gold are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.