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Howard University Welcomes the 2023-2024 Royal Court, Begins Homecoming Festivities

The Royal Court includes Armaní Washington, 85th Miss Howard University and the 2023-2024 Miss National Black College Alumni Hall Of Fame


Students, faculty, and friends gathered in Cramton Auditorium Sunday night to commemorate the official crowning of this year’s Miss Howard Armaní Washington and Mister Howard Mahlon West. Fellow Royal Court members from Howard’s schools and colleges graced the stage to support the coronation. 

“We strive and work every day with student leaders to ensure they can serve the community,” said the Director of Campus Life Walter Servance, when asked what this development in leadership will mean for the Howard community, emphasizing his expectations of “maintaining greatness” and “leading in truth and service” for this year’s Royal Court. 

The night’s hosts started the coronation with a warm welcome and introduced past court members to the audience. Howard’s current Miss Freshman, Iyanna Court, danced in a tribute to “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.  

I have great admiration for them, and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future.”

Each member of the Royal Court was introduced individually and took their respective places on stage, crowns shining, and heads held high. With everyone seated, Aneesah Lawrence took the stage to call out to the Howard community with her spoken piece “The Melanin Hijabi.” 

Before Miss and Mister were crowned, both were honored by friends and loved ones. Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. lined up on the stage to perform a step routine in honor of their brother West, who joined Howard’s Beta Chapter in 2022.

A video dedicated to Washington featuring several friends and family members congratulating her and sending their love was also played.  

Miss and Mister Howard shed a few tears and pats of encouragement before Cynthia Evers, Ed.D., the vice president of student affairs, took the mic to begin the crowning moment. Washington bowed gently as the crown was placed on her head and remains lowered as a cape was draped over her shoulders. West followed suit, and they danced excitedly as the audience applauded their crowning. 

Stopping at times to collect himself, West shared his gratitude for his position. “I wasn’t even supposed to make it to college....so God really blessed me for me to be Mr. Howard University,” said West.  

Both Washington and West told the audience that they aspire to be an example to others. Washington, who ran under the platform “How to Get Away with Truth and Service” said, “To have people come up to me and tell me that they want to do what I’m doing is mind-blowing.”

The 85th Miss Howard University, Washington is also the 2023-2024 Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. In the five-day contest, she engaged in community service, political conversations, and events tailored to the honoree weekend of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation.  

She competed against 20 other queens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and was crowned the 38th Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation on September 30.    

The 85th Miss Howard University Armani Washington prepares for Howard Homecoming's Royal Coronation

The 85th Miss Howard University Armaní Washington prepares for Howard Homecoming's Royal Coronation (Photo: Latrell Caton)

As this year’s Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, Washington now has the pleasure of serving as the official ambassador and on the foundation’s board of directors during her reign. 

Ankhusmet Lynch-Wade, a senior media management major said “I came to support the whole royal court, but especially Armani. I've known her since my freshman year at Howard, so it's great. And it’s wonderful seeing all that she's done.”  

The finale of Sunday’s Royal Court Coronation saw the court lined up to begin the Royal Waltz, with each member dancing with their partners with smiles as bright as their tiaras and crowns.  

This year’s Miss School of Education Erin Taylor and Miss College of Nursing and Allied Health Science Hamid Jalloh presented Miss and Mister Howard with gifts while delivering loving, encouraging words. 

With the procession finally finished, Washington and West took to the front of the stage to share encouragement of their own. The moment is nothing short of endearing and marks a great start to Homecoming.

Kya Ramsey, a senior biology and psychology double major said “I have great admiration for them, and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future. I am backing them all the way.”