MR. A&T CROWNED MR. HBCU

Reginald Nathaniel Johnson has served as Mr. North Carolina A&T State University for the 2012-13 academic year. Last month, he added another title and crown to his collection. At the close of the ninth annual HBCU Kings’ Leadership Conference and Competition at Lincoln University, Johnson was crowned Mr. HBCU.

“It was an honor to win because I was representing A&T. It was our time,” Johnson said.

Johnson, 22, is the fourth Mr. A&T in university history and the fourth to compete in Jefferson, Mo. The previous three placed first runner up, top 20 and top 5, respectively.

“I was thankful to be able to bring that title back to our home,” he said.

Johnson is a professional theatre major who has performance and pageant experience. His experience in this competition was unlike any he’s ever had.

“It wasn’t a typical pageant. It was more like a brotherhood of men doing something positive to represent their institutions,” he said. “It wasn’t like a competition. It wasn’t aggressive or competitive at all.”

It was that feeling of brotherhood that made the 5-day trip enjoyable. He and his fellow contestants call themselves “The Great 8” and have aspirations of working together to do more positive things for their institutions and communities.

“The competition was more of a showcase of black brilliance, excellence and black men doing positive things,” Johnson said.

The mission of the conference was to enhance the leadership skills for the representatives by creating an infrastructure for leadership that enables them to develop as spokesmen, role models and leaders in their universities and communities.

Over the course of the week, Johnson and his fellow contestants participated in forums and workshops while practicing and preparing for the pageant. Contestants had to do an introduction and a three-minute speech on a specific topic and perform a talent. Johnson, a trained dancer, danced to a montage of speeches from Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and President Obama over Afro-fusion music.

In addition to winning the overall competition, Johnson was also voted Mr. Congeniality by his fellow contestants. He says it’s an honor he got simply by being himself.

“A lot of people go to these pageants trying to become something else when in reality people want to see someone who is genuine. You can only be the best you,” he said.