During Homecoming week, the campus is packed with students, faculty and Morgan alumni and all eyes are on the Royal Court. Not only does everything about them—from shoes to accessories—need to match, they must also remain within the bounds of a $500 budget.
“We have to be conscientious of our budget because everything else comes out of our pockets,” Miss Junior Reality Anderson said.
The campus kings and queens are a staple across most HBCU campuses and Homecoming week is arguably the busiest time of year for the Royal Court. Their mandatory attendance is required for all events including the Sunday church service, coronation and the parade. The planning begins the summer before the upcoming school year as multiple facets of student government meet to negotiate budgets for the Royal Court, Campus Activities Board and Mister and Miss Morgan State.
The court members are selected by their peers each year by classification. Elementary education major Darnell White and Deja Jones, a screenwriting and animation major, are this year’s Mister and Miss Senior. Sociology major Andrew Hill and strategic communications major Reality Anderson are Mister and Miss Junior. Political science major LeShoun Taylor and biology major Taylor Odoms are Mister and Miss Sophomore. Architecture major Nathan Keesee and business administration major Jackie Foley are Mister and Miss Freshman.
Because all court members have to wear matching attire at each event, they receive up to $500 per person, SGA President Keyon Grayson said. Once that budget runs out, however, members must come out of pocket to finance their own outfits.
Natasha Lewis-Williams, coordinator of the Office of Student Life and Development, said they prefer to order from Amazon or K&G, a superstore that hosts a variety of brands, because of the affordability. She added that Royal Court members are banned from spending their budget on attire outside of their royal duties.
While some court members wish to expand the budget, Hill believes that they make the most out of their funds.
“Yes, it would be nice to expand but, we make what we have work,” he said. “I would actually wear a lot of what we buy for events outside of my position.”
The diverse group of young men and women have to all agree on an outfit and the color scheme for each event. There is a minimum length requirement on dresses, but otherwise, they have free rein to decide amongst themselves. There’s no limit on the expense of an outfit, as long as everyone agrees on the same suit or dress and it falls within the budget.
The majority of the royal court agreed that freedom in choosing what they wear gives them the flexibility to incorporate modern trends.