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Micheline Amisi crowned Miss Black and Gold 2015-16

Amisi was crowned Miss Black and Gold 2015-16 in the lively Student Union auditorium. The crowd erupted in applause as she stepped forward to receive her crown and sash, waving to friends and beaming with pride.

After three months of preparation and rehearsals, Amisi and four other female students competed in the pageant hosted annually by UNC’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The evening consisted of a talent portion, swimsuit show, evening gown show and interview section. The contestants were judged on their appearance and poise, their GPA and an interview with judges before the event.

Unlike other contestants, Amisi, a Gates Millennium scholar, isn’t new to the pageant world.

“I’ve been in pageants in the past, and I thought I was finished,” she said. “But Michael (Morrison) is very convincing.”

Morrison, a junior public relations major, served as one of the co-directors of this years’ pageant. He encouraged Amisi to apply for the pageant because of her personality, he said.

“She’s very charismatic and energetic,” he said. “She provides the energy that we knew would be good for other girls to see.”

For Alpha Phi Alpha member Garrett Holloway, the talent portion is his favorite part.

“It’s because a lot of people are really talented in very different ways,” he said. “It’s great to see people go on stage and do what they love.”

The Miss Black and Gold Pageant is about more than just showing talent. Over the three-month process, Holloway said he has seen the contestants become more comfortable with themselves.

“Each of the young women has evolved, and it’s been incredible,” he said. “It gives them a stronger sense of self confidence and you can appreciate their beauty.”

Amisi sported her beauty and talent in Monday night’s pageant as she strutted across the stage in a peach bikini and beige wedges to Beyonce’s “Freakum Dress” and recited Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in traditional Congalese attire.

Her confidence on stage was the product of regular practices and support from family and friends.

“I didn’t really know the atmosphere or the vibe coming into it,” Amisi said. “But I’m so close with everyone from the collaborative effort.”

The collaborative effort and forming of relationships is why the members of Alpha Phi Alpha and past contestants enjoy working with the pageant.

Freshman Aliya Tucker was crowned Miss 1906, the runner-up, and said her relationship with others involved in the pageant was surprising.

“They told us other contestants would be our best friends and I didn’t believe them,” Tucker said. “I’ve gained so many more friends and so many more people I can hang around with.”

The relationships with the members of Alpha Phi Alpha and other contestants gave Tucker the confidence to explore her talents, she said.

“I’m more comfortable with sharing things about myself,” she said. “I wrote about a really vulnerable time about an event in my life that took me and took my faith by surprise so I took my feelings out in my writing.”

Morrison said he was proud to be part of an event that gave women on campus a voice and creative outlet.

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“It’s an opportunity to highlight the efforts of women who go unnoticed on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a platform for them to build certain traits like confidence and public speaking.”

Morrison said winning the pageant is an honor and Miss Black and Gold represents the members, their colors and their fraternity.

“For a brother, you have the woman you selected to participate as Miss Black and Gold, and they are your colors,” he said. “The fact that we selected that person you chose is really special.”

arts@dailytarheel.com