Renaissance Ball photo

Contestants, from left to right, Sydney Evans, William Barrett, Lar’jae Cohen, Trinity Tyler, Latrice Johnson, Paul Jetter, Kristal Moseley and Cj Owensby waiting hand in hand, waiting for the judges decision of king and queen.

Kent State’s Black United Students threw a party to remember at the 50th annual Renaissance Ball on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

At this year’s ball, the theme was Moonlight Masquerade and Kent State’s black community filled the Student Center’s ballroom dressed in their finest evening wear.  

The night consisted of eight of Kent State’s well known members of the black community competing to become the next king and queen of the Renaissance Ball.

The event started at 7 p.m. with the eight contestants performing a choreographed dance wearing black slacks and white dress shirts, with suspenders and fedora-like hats. 

The three hosts of the night were dressed in extravagant gold and silver shimmering dresses as they introduced the contestants to the audience. 

After introductions, the real contest began as each contestant had a chance to impress the audience with their talents.

Cj Owensby, a sophomore Pan-African studies major, went first and riled up the audience with a surprise performance from NEO Impact, a Christian-based church group at Kent State.  The group danced and sang on stage to “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin. 

Kristal Moseley, a freshman fashion design major, was next and engrossed the crowd with an original poem she wrote about the stigma around black women and their natural hair. The poem was called, “The Tales of a Girl Who Does Box Braids in Her Grandmother’s Basement.” 

Paul Jetter, a sophomore advertising major, or “Pauly J” as he likes to be called, followed Moseley with an original song called “Better Days,” which he dedicated to his mother. 

Before intermission, Latrice Johnson, a senior fashion merchandising major, followed Owensby’s lead and brought a few friends on stage. Dressed in yellow, red, blue and orange dresses, Latrice’s friends helped her dance and model to Beyoncé.

After intermission, the rest of the contestants continued to fill the ballroom with their talents of singing, dancing and poetry, followed by the question portion of the competition.

One of the three judges asked Moseley, “If you could disguise yourself for a day, what would you do? Who would you be?”

“I don’t think I want to disguise myself,” Moseley said. “I’m pretty positive with who I am and where I’m from, my background. I grew up in a single parent household and many people would look down upon that. However, I do think I learned many skills by only having my mother in my life.”

Jetter answered his question of what has been his biggest challenge so far by telling the crowd about how hard he fought to overcome his insecurities. 

“I never lost his faith in God,” he said.  

When asked about her biggest accomplishment, Johnson said, “This,” referring to participating in the ball, “and studying abroad in Florence. (The ball) because I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone and letting people know that it’s OK to be afraid, to be nervous but to do things that make you grow. In order to grow you have to step out of your comfort zone.”

After all contestants answered the questions, the night came to a close with the judges deliberating the winners. 

The titles were awarded to Paul Jetter (King) and Kristal Mosele (Queen) of the 50th annual Renaissance Ball.

 Contact Kennedi Combs at kcombs3@kent.edu

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