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Louisiana HBCUs dominate Ebony’s queen’s list

30th January 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Tia Alphonse
Contributing Writer

The smartest and most beautiful queens come from Louisiana. That’s according to Ebony magazine when it announced its choices for the 2016 – 2017 Historically Black Colleges and Universities Queens Top 10 list. The magazine picked 10 campus queens out of 75 HBCUs, after months of voting, and five of them hail from Louisiana universities. From New Orleans, the queens from Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Southern University of New Orleans were selected. Additionally, the campus queens at Southern University A&M College, in Baton Rouge, La. and Grambling State University in Grambling, La were among the Top 10.

“It’s more than just a crown. It’s more than just a pretty face,” said Jasmine Merlette, a psychology major, chemistry minor, and the current Miss. Xavier at Xavier University of Louisiana. “You are choosing to represent your school,” she added.

As a queen, Merlette said being an HBCU campus queen was an obligation both to the community, but also to her school. Xavier is a school with a majority of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students, but this year, Merlette said her plans are to “bring people together” by engaging with students in the smaller major programs on campus.

The other four women selected from the state were Corinne Vaughn, a senior, political science major at Southern University in Baton Rouge; Germika Stewart, a senior, social work major at Southern University at New Orleans; Astra Watts, a senior, biology major at Grambling State University, and Chelsea Bosley, a senior, English major at Dillard.

“Miss Dillard Chelsea Bosley’s selection to be featured in the Ebony magazine campus queens is historic as this is our first appearance since the magazine changed the format [in 2009] from celebrating all HBCU queens to narrowing the field to just 10,” said Dillard President Walter M. Kimbrough in an official statement about the announcement. “We are the smallest school in the top 10, and that is a testament to our Dillard and extended communities that worked extra hard to make this happen.”

Each woman selected will receive a trip to New York, and will participate in a photo shoot to appear in Ebony’s print and online publications later in the year. Merlette said when Xavier students see her appear in the magazine they can say, “‘We made it; my school made it.’ This not about me. I represent the school,” Merlette said.

HBCU queens are a tradition that go back decades. Campus queens “have an opportunity to give to the community, give to the schools, give back to the children, and alumni of the university,” Merlette said.

Dillard’s queen, who plans to attend law school, is the university’s 81st campus queen. The Plaquemines Parish native has clocked 300 hours in community service that included time spent with a local elementary school’s reading program.

“I realized [being Miss Dillard] was about the service,” said Bosley in an official statement. “I just really wanted to be the person who made a difference in young girls’ lives.”

This article originally published in the January 30, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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