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Virginia State Trojans named Mister and Miss HBCU

Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 19, 2022

ETTRICK, Va. -- A dash of royalty has arrived at the Virginia State University campus in Ettrick, Virginia. Two VSU Trojans were crowned Mister and Miss HBCU to represent students from all Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.

"HBCUs are extremely important, for black and brown kids we go into this scary world," Mister HBCU Isaiah Matthews said. "We're dealing with so much adversity, whether it's police killings or systematic oppression, but when you go to an HBCU you gain a family. "

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Isaiah Matthews

Matthews said that family is connected through school pride.

"The orange and blue is in my blood," Matthews said referring to VSU's school colors.

"We call ourselves the Trojans and it's just a school spirit that nowhere else has," Miss HBCU Joy Watson said.

She said she was honored to be voted the 94th Miss Virginia State University.

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Joy Watson

"Representation in general matters, so when it comes to my title I'm so grateful," she said.

That win has allowed her to represent VSU on the national stage where she showcased her talent, skill, and intellect to earn the title of Miss National Black College Hall of Fame.

Matthews was crowned VSU's 31st Mister Virginia State in 2021. He was named Mister HBCU in January 2022.

"Being Mister HBCU is probably the greatest thing I've done in my whole college experience," he said.

Both Trojans competed in separate pageants against students from HBCUs nationwide. Both of them brought home VSU's first national pageant titles.

"While you're doing all this hard work, and everything, you're not thinking about, 'Oh, I'm gonna be the first to do it,'" Watson said.

The spotlight helped the young king and queen connect with other high-achieving students.

"I think that's the cool thing about it," Matthews said. "When a lot of Black men come together and we are able to be in a space where we can not only be vulnerable but just have a lot of joy, it was so amazing."

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Watson said she hoped to use her experience and connections to strengthen not only VSU but all HBCUs.

"When people see us they'll want to go here. When people see us, they'll want to send their students, their kids, and maybe even become a professor at our university," she said.

The king and queen hold ambassador roles which they described as full-time jobs.

"You're the face of the university," Matthews said.

"We connect with the alumni, the Board of Visitors, and other HBCUs," Watson added.

All while keeping the school spirit alive and inspiring current and future students to keep the national crowns in the Trojan family.

"The goal is to continue to have people from our school, more Virginia State University kings and queens to hold these titles," Watson said.

The current Mister VSU will compete in the Mister HBCU pageant in January 2023.

Watch Candace Burns' "Our RVA" reports Wednesdays on CBS 6 News at 4 and 6 p.m. If you know someone Candace should feature, email her at Candace.Burns@wtvr.com.

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