Marquette Wire

ASA hosts second Mr. and Ms. Africa Scholarship competition

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Mr. and Ms. Africa competitors speak at the pageant.

Mr. and Ms. Africa competitors speak at the pageant.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Mr. and Ms. Africa competitors speak at the pageant.

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Eduardo Perea-Hernandez can add Mr. Africa to the list of nicknames he has been called.

“Every Mexican has a nickname,” Perea-Hernandez, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “Normally you get them for two reasons: one, because a sibling can’t pronounce it, or two, it has to do with a feature on your body.”

Perea-Hernandez shared an in-depth story and comedic performance during his talent section at the Mr. and Ms. Africa Pageant and explained to the audience how nicknames and Mexican culture are closely entwined. He made cracks at hot button issues like the Trump presidency and the impending wall between Mexico and the United States.

“We have a nickname for Trump too…corn hair,” Perea-Hernandez said during his performance.

The African Students Association hosted its second annual pageant Saturday in the Varsity Theatre. Perea-Hernandez and Deidre Hasan were crowned the 2017 Mr. and Ms. Africa.

“Everyone worked really hard on this,” Perea-Hernandez said. “So regardless of who would have won, there would have been the same reaction.”

Eight contestants competed against each other in four categories: cultural pride, talent, community project and formal. The winners took home a $500 scholarship prize.

“I think I am going to use my money to pay some bills first,” Deidre Hasan, a junior in the College of Communication, said.

Hasan presented a video she created on the versatility of black women’s hair for the cultural pride segment, sang “Stay,” by Rihanna, performed a poem with Perea-Hernandez during the community project category and modeled a long black dress during the formal segment.

Marquette University Student Government Senator Demmy Adeboyejo and ASA event coordinator Divine Abizera hosted the event, sharing witty banter throughout.

Other performances came from ASA’s dance team Afro Fusion and the Marquette Gospel Choir.

“All of the contestants have been working so hard this past week for this,” Abizera said. “So we want to thank our contestants for their hard work and our lovely judges for taking the time to come out here today.”

Former MUSG President Adam Kouhel, founder of the Mr. and Ms. Africa pageant Anwauri-Jessica Osademe and Miss Milwaukee representative Haley Lynam served on the panel of judges. Osademe graduated from Marquette last year.

“The pageant was a great experience,” Kouhel said. “I was specifically moved by the personal stories all of the contestants shared in each segment of the pageant.”

During the final walk, Perea-Hernandez did a dance for the crowed a couple times, and once he was crowned Mr. Africa, he kept up the theme and busted a move again.

“Like I said in my skit, I didn’t think a Mexican could win Mr. Africa,” Perea-Hernandez said. “But I’m happy that I did. It was a lot of fun.” He said he signed up because the president of ASA pushed him to participate.

ASA hopes to continue putting on the pageant since starting it last year with six contestants from diverse backgrounds. The diverse group represents what it is like to be a member of ASA.

“You don’t have to be African to be a member of ASA,” Adeboyejo said. “We want people of all backgrounds to join.”

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