The Black United Students organization hosted its annual renaissance ball, “Moonlight Masquerade,” Thursday night in the Student Center Ballroom. The event, which started in the late 1960s, marks its 50th anniversary. Assistant Dean of Academic Diversity Success N.J. Akbar said he is glad that the tradition is continuing.
“Black students weren’t allowed to participate in homecoming dances 50 years ago and so that history, that long-standing tradition, is like our homecoming dance for our black students at Kent,” Akbar said.
All students were invited to the free event and did not shy away from dressing in their best wear, with some fashion design students even designing their own dresses and suits.
One of the attendees, senior communication studies major Jalen Sephus, said he enjoys the lively atmosphere.
“It’s pretty much an open environment,” Sephus said. “Everybody gets to talk, everybody gets to dress nice and you get to see people crowned royalty.”
The event started with an opening rendition of Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” with five female dancers and continued on with eight Kent State student contestants performing a variety of talents of their choice. Some highlights include a spoken word poem from Krystal Moseley and William Barrett, dancing from Trinity Tyler and singing from Larjae’ Cohen.
Guests were treated to an array of appetizers and drinks and danced to booming music on the dancefloor throughout the event. At the end of the night, sophomore advertising major Paul Jetter and freshman fashion design major Kristal Moseley were crowned king and queen, as the audience joyfully cheered on.
Director of the ball Charlotte Brown said the inclusivity aspect this year set the ball apart from previous balls.
“All are welcome to show how much this means to us, and I just want everyone to be entertained regardless of where you come from or what you look like,” Brown said.