University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Homecoming 2023

Davinchi, All American’ and the Starz series ‘BMF’ actor, opens up during panel discussion.

Photos provided by Tamesha Monk

By Tamesha Monk

As a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, I want to end my last year with a bang! So what does that look like, you might ask. It means joining as many great organizations on campus as I can and attending a lot of the campus events and activities. It’s been a little hard balancing work, school, family, and social life, but when homecoming came around I made a promise to myself to attend as many events as possible, and just as you would imagine it to be, it was HECTIC but FUN!

My homecoming celebration started with Coronation. Coronation always takes place at the Pine Bluff Convention Center,  and it allows all the students to look red carpet-ready. This year’s theme was ‘Bridgerton,’ so I decided to go with a classy ballroom outfit. I wore a big flowy skirt with a long-sleeved blouse tucked into it, and I slicked my hair back into a low ponytail.

 It felt so amazing to be among all the black excellence in the room, and once the event started, every single Mr. and Mrs. showed out in Bridgerton-themed suits and dresses. But who stole the show were Mr. and Mrs. UAPB, Jonathan Burgess and Kaitlyn Peterson. Not only are they the first to serve as Mr. and Mrs. during the 150th anniversary of UAPB, but this is their second time serving within the UAPB Royals. And the two have been dating since they were in high school! They pierced the hearts of every person in the room showcasing their love for each other. In my opinion, it almost felt like we were attending a wedding. After the event was over, everyone gathered together to fellowship, take pictures, and eat. It was truly an amazing night.

Soul Crew Intern, Tamesha Monk, at Coronation.

The next day only got better, especially when we received word that Davinchi was coming to our campus on the same day as the Bonfire! Davinchi is an actor best known for his work in the TV series ‘All American’ and the Starz series ‘BMF’. He is currently on a mental health tour and UAPB was a part of his stops. The event took place in a field behind the gymnasium, and there were many different places for students to sit and enjoy snacks. The event started by showing different short films chosen by Davinchi that focused on mental health. After the three films were shown, Davinchi was interviewed by Hope Bryant. He answered questions on mental health and shared the best ways that college students can focus on their mental health even with their busy schedules.

 Davinchi painted the picture of his past with us. He shared his experience battling with his mental health and also shared what helped him through the different processes of his life. It was a very enlightening event from start to finish, and I appreciate him bringing light to college students and mental health. Once the event was over, we had the opportunity to meet and take a picture with Davinchi, yet that wasn’t the end of the night! As soon as the event was over the bonfire began. UAPB’s marching band, The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South, played a variety of songs including a tribute to Whitney Houston. Many students and alumni connected and had a blast catching up with each other, dancing to Whitney Houston, and getting warm by the bonfire. It was late before I knew it and I had to leave, but it was a day from start to finish.

All American and BMF series star, Davinchi, talks mental health at UAPB panel.

You know it’s not homecoming without a step show, so the next day the Pine Bluff Convention Center was filled with many old and new members of different sororities and fraternities and students wanting to enjoy the show. Each sorority and fraternity performed and absolutely killed it. At the end of the show, Delta Sigma Theta won best sorority, Phi Beta Sigma won best fraternity, and Alpha Kappa Alpha won best overall. It was nice seeing the brother and sisterhood between the sororities and fraternities as they all gathered together to celebrate each other and represent their organizations.

            Speaking of organizations, I’m a proud member of the Vesper Choir at UAPB, and I serve as the Chaplain and a Section leader for the Altos. Early Friday morning, I had the opportunity to participate in Vesper Roundup. Roundup is where current Vesper members and past members come together to catch up on what we’re doing in life, celebrate the organization, and reminisce on the memories we’ve experienced over the years. The current members sing a song for the Alumni. After, they join us and sing songs that we all have learned over the years. I was happy to see faces I hadn’t seen in a while and remember those who are no longer with us.

Tamesha Monk celebrating Homecoming 2023
As homecoming was coming to an end, the day of the homecoming game was very busy. Food Trucks crowded the streets of Pine Bluff in excitement for the homecoming game, and even though our football team didn’t pull away with a dub, students, alumni, and members of the community still had a blast at the tailgate, participating in line dances, eating, and watching the battle of the bands! I can truly say my homecoming as a senior was a blast and I would do it all over again if I had the chance