New Mr. Ivy League has “exhilarating” win

Senior Tra Armstead celebrates his win with 2017 Miss Black Rocket City and graduate student Lauren Blue. “I didn’t think I was going to get it at first, but I’m glad I did,” Armstead said. 

by Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Fleming

For anyone who missed “50 Shades of Grey,” the Nu Omicron chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. brought “10 Shades of Green” to the Mane Room March 9.

This theme for the 2017 Mr. Ivy League Scholarship Pageant represented the 10 UNA students who participated, including the pageant winner, senior Tra Armstead.

“It was exhilarating,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it at first, but I’m glad I did. I’m proud of all the other contestants who were here, also.”

First runner-up, junior Rahsaun Fletcher, said his win was bittersweet.

“I had a lot of fun doing it, but it’s like, ‘This is the end,’” he said. “But, I’m blessed for the opportunity that the AKAs gave to me.”

Second runner-up was junior Joshua Smith, People’s Choice was freshman Mathew Thiam, and Highest GPA was senior Jonathan Barnett.

Senior Marcus Patterson won Mr. Fitness, sophomore Kenzell Wilson won Most Valuable Participant, and Armstead won Mr. Social Media.

The contestants participated in three categories: swimwear, date night and Q&A.

In swimwear, they ranged from athletic pants and T-shirts to shorts and one contestant’s bare torso. They each demonstrated athletic abilities, with Barnett eliciting laughs from the audience as he completed pushups and followed them with a back of Lay’s Potato Chips.

With date night, slacks, blazers and full suits graced the stage. Fletcher made a lasting impression on the audience with a smoldering stare to both his escort, judges and those in attendance.

During Q&A, many questions involved women and representation. One of the first questions asked why women who speak their mind are seen as aggressive while men are not.

The pageant opened and closed with a dance number, which senior Taisha Mayberry said was her favorite part.

“It looks like they had fun and really got know each other,” she said.

Performers in the show included singer Markus Free, poet Josh Baker and 2017 Miss Black Rocket City and graduate student Lauren Blue, who performed two dances. RoJay from 103.1 WEUP-FM hosted the event.