Homecoming win marks 3rd for BSU

Roberto Hodge and Marcus Curtis

For three straight years, members of Black Student Union have won a spot on the Homecoming Court.

Brandal Miles and Alexis Lambert were crowned Homecoming king and queen Monday evening.

Ceci Brinker, the director of student life, said this is important because it shows the campus minority school spirit and Homecoming pride while representing their fellow African-American students.

“We are important and we have a presence,” Lambert said.

Both Miles and Lambert shared Brinker’s sentiments because them winning shows a progressive step toward progress in light of how students of color have been represented on campus in history.

In 1973, Diane Williams was the first African-American to be crowned Homecoming queen; however, she was eventually stripped from her title due to an alleged voting violation, which decreased one third of her votes.

Even still, Lambert and Miles both admitted to seeing negative or racially-charged comments regarding their win. Lambert said she fears this could still happen today because a student could feel someone won Homecoming based off of racial favoritism. One of the racial comments Lambert said she noticed she has seen included on the social media application, Yik Yak, included, “Why aren’t the whites getting anything.”

Miles and Lambert said it is important to ignore the derogatory remarks because it is a distraction from uplifting the Homecoming spirit at Eastern.

“We won because we worked for it, not because we’re African-Americans,” Lambert said.

Tylen Elliott, who won Homecoming prince, said becoming Homecoming prince has been his dream since he was a freshmen and he encourages anyone interested to get involved on campus.

Elliott, who ignored the negative comments as well, said he believes the purpose of Homecoming is for students to come together as a campus regardless of race.

Lambert said Homecoming is not a popularity contest. There are three parts that go along with the court selection process, the students much fill out an application, the student body needs to vote and there is an interview session with that portion being the most important part of the selection process.

Lambert added when she was being interviewed for Homecoming, she didn’t know a single professor who was questioning her. She said this is done to avoid showing any favoritism or bias.

“Our students of color do have positive impacts.” Brinker said. “(Winning) really does take the focus off of some of the negative incidents and stereotypes.”

Alongside this being the third consecutive year for African-Americans, BSU has had the longest run in conjunction with the event. Both Lambert and Miles are a part of the organization and at least one member from BSU has won a Homecoming title for three straight years, Brinker added.

Brinker said Essence of a Man and Miss Black EIU winners always go on to compete in Homecoming for the title.

“That’s quite an honor for them,” Brinker said.

Students who win the Homecoming court are required to make an appearance at all Homecoming related events. Lambert said she and Miles would both go to those events as well as the University Board and BSU events.

Miles said much of their support for winning comes from how well they were marketed and how well known they are, but the coronation is not in any way a popularity contest.

Brinker said this year 1,554 students voted in Homecoming compared to the previous year’s 2,013. With minorities being 25 percent of the campus, Brinker said it does have some effect overall because of campus involvement.

“It’s a very defining moment for them,” Brinker said.

However, Miles said the 25 percent of African-Americans on campus did not have a full effect on the outcome of the votes.

Instead, Miles said a lack of diverse personalities on campus could result in failure. He said he believes when people rely on their ethnicity to win they come up short.

“It’s only 25 percent, there’s still another 75 percent of other ethnicities on campus,” Miles said.

Roberto Hodge and Marcus Curtis can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]