A Night of Grace and Poise: Coronation 2020

Digest Illustration | Photos: Rocelyn Hamilton/DIGEST

The role of Miss Southern is a standing Southern University tradition in which the University crowns a young lady that exudes a level of grace, poise, kindness, and selflessness. Ms. Kennedie E. Batiste possesses these defining characteristics in such a way that led to her victory as the University's 90th Miss Southern.

From an early age, Kennedie mentions the manner in which learned the value of prayer and to always put God first was instilled in her at a young age. Her role as Miss Southern is something she said has been manifested since her freshman year. Even when she doubted herself, the endless love and support from family and friends kept her going and got her to this moment. Kennedie took time within the program to extend her sincere gratitude toward her family, friends, and faculty for molding her into the upstanding young lady she is and growing into today.

From start to finish, the program for the coronation ceremony presented a cultural feel with noteworthy aesthetics. Kennedie’s campaign was a Cinderella-style affair and according to many on the scene, it presented regal black elegance at its finest. Before Ms. Batiste made her grand entrance however, the program started with the introductions of her royal court, which included Miss Freshman Jasmine Brown, Miss Sophomore Briana Hall, Miss Junior Talaya Johnson, and Miss Senior Nicole Moore.

After her royal court is introduced, Little Miss Southern Sariyah Caldwell and Mr. Southern Mason Batiste makes their debut across the coronation floor and took their seats next to Kennedie on stage. Following Little Miss Southern and Mr. Southern, members of faculty along with Kennedie’s parents and grandparents are introduced. Once introductions were out the way, Kennedie makes her grand entrance on a white carriage surrounded by blue and white balloons.

At that moment, the audience in room seemed to be in awe of Ms. Batiste and how poised and beautiful she looked. Once Miss Southern has been introduced, she is crowned before her family, friends, and faculty of the University and presented with the scepter and bouquet of royal flowers. Following the crowning, Ms. Batiste shares a dance with the Southern University President-Chancellor, Ray L. Belton, and her grandfather before a special dance was performed by her former Gold N Bluez teammates. Ms. Batiste's former teammates created a special tribute dance to commemorate her new role as Queen, which turned emotional when Kennedie began to cry.

At this point in the program, Kennedie crowned her royal court and follows up with a speech simply thanking everyone for coming to support her on this journey and expresses her sincere gratitude for her family, friends, and faculty, always pushing her to be better and strive for the best. Throughout her speech Kennedie continuously credits God for getting her to this point, stating “Without God, none of this would be possible. Sometimes I still ask him what I did to deserve this.” According to Kennedie, she had one great support system and that was highlighted last night for her special day.

“I told her, baby you can’t satisfy everybody, don’t try to satisfy because you can’t.” said Batiste’s grandmother. She continued by saying “Whatever you do, do your best and give it all you have, and you can’t ask for more.” Kennedie has kept these same values and has continued to make God and her family proud through her journey of being crowned Miss Southern.

Former Miss Southerns surprised Kennedie and even had some encouraging words for her during her time as Miss Southern. “The most beneficial advice I can give Kennedie is to simply stay true to herself throughout the entire process. There’s so many things people are going to expect out of her and I believe in that journey she has to stay grounded.” said Shanice Sam, former 2014-2015 Miss Southern.

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