By: Marion Williams, Ph.D.ret.
King Sunni Ali Ber 1996
The Krewe of African Kings held its twenty-seventh annual Mardi Gras Ball at the St. Joseph Paris Hall Saturday night with approximately 200+ people attending. This invitation only black tie and formal gown affair sparkled with excitement.
The hall was decorated in the traditional shimmering Mardi Gras colors. The Egyptian Mural of the Pyramid set the tone for the night and classic Mardi Gras garland was hung throughout the hall.
Each table was individually decorated in their own flare. There were lit trees, wreaths, purple, green and gold cones with brilliant glasses and sparkling purple, gold and green glittered lights and table cloths. The walls were decorated in oversized Mardi Gras icons, faces, and masks.
The Ball began with the traditional dinner at 7:00 p.m. and doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
As the patrons entered the hall, they were given souvenirs and were welcomed by Krewe members dressed in traditional African costumes.
An open bar was busy as guests were served their favorite cups of cheer. Afterwards, the guests lined-up for the traditional “buffet.” A gourmet’s delight consisted of dishes of seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, cabbage, collards and corn bread, jerked chicken and ham, fried turkey and dressing, Mac n’ Cheese, potato salad, and baked sweet potatoes. There was a traditional Mardi Gras cake and sweet ice tea which complimented the buffet.
After a feast fit for kings and queens, the “Groove Control” band began their performance for the crowd of eagerly waiting dancers. This outstanding five member group consisted of Mr. Henry Tony Williams, band leader/vocals, Jackie Moorer, lead female vocalist, Kendrick Wooten, drummer, and Jerome Dorsey.
The band kept everyone on the floor all night long. The band was simply outstanding musically! They played everything from “Old School,” R. Kelley, pop ballads to several ‘slides’.
Williams and Moorer did an outstanding job on many of the duets they sang.
At 9:00 p.m., the program began. The M.C. for the evening again, was Mr. Frank Eggleton. Frank gave the greeting and asked the audience to pause for Past Kings. The Bell was tolled for deceased Kings: “William “Bill” Walker, Don Reynolds, Robert Weigle, Timothy Poe, Robert “Bob” Mack, and Thomas “Tommy” Whitaker.
Eggleton then introduced historical facts about King Senusret I, this year’s king. The skit for the evening was written and directed again this year by our own Krewe member, retired former City Councilman, Ronald Townsend, Sr. It was a comical presentation based on the Life and Times of Senusret I.
King Senusret I, Egyptian Pharaoh, 1971 B.C. – 1926 B.C. Senusret was the son of Anenemhat I and his chief wife was Neferittanen.
Senusret was a co-regent with his father for 10 years and severed for a total of 44 years.
During Senusret’s rule, Egypt was peaceful and prosperous. Trade flourished. Ivory, Red Cedar, and many foreign goods entered Egypt. It was during his reign that God sent Abraham and his wife Sarai to Egypt during biblical times according to the Book of Genesis. To discourage Senusret’s lust for Sarai, God sent severe plagues on Egypt.
Senusret I was a strong tactical military leader who favored “strong” borders in Egypt. He was buried in his pyramid at El-lisht with a constructed obelisk of 66 ft. tall which is still standing today.
In the skit, Ronald Townsend played King Senusret, and Staff Sargent Wendell Salter, played “the beautiful” Sarai. Rollie Earley, and Norman Holmes played Nubian visitors while Manny Huanosto, Jr. and Ronald Preer played the king’s aides. Sid Farish was the “Instrument” (A.K.A. Donald Trump). The audience laughed loudly and found the skit very, very funny and informative.
Following the skit, each Krewe member was introduced to the audience.
Last year’s King Ezana of Axum, Wendell P. Salter, was introduced before our new 2017 King. M.C. Eggleton then called for the crowning of the New King: Senusret I, who was unmasked as Manuel (Manny) Huanosto, Jr.
After the crowning of the New King, the M.C. called for the selection of the New Queen. Mardi Gras King cake pieces were passed out to the ladies in the audience who had not been selected as “Queen of the Ball” in the past. As a result, two Queens were selected. Ms. Velerie Bell and Ms. Dinah Fitzpatrick both found a “baby” in the King Cakes. They came forward to be crowned as the new 2017 Ball Queens.
A call was made to “Toast “the New Queens and King Sensuret I.
All of the Krewe kings and the audience raised their glasses in recognition.
Following the toast, the “Grand Marche” took place. The two Queens and the King led the march around the Ballroom floor to the cheers of the crowd.
Frank Eggleton then asked for the “Royal Entertainer” to come forth. Ms. Eleanor Johnson appeared as our exotic dancer (Royal Entertainer). She was dressed in a Gold African Garb for her costume. The dance was tantalizing. The announcer then called for the Reading of our annual “Royal Proclamation.”
When completed, the King and new Queens came to the dance floor to begin our “Krewe’s First Dance” as the Krewe members went to get their wives and dates for the evening.
All men of like minds are encouraged to join the Krewe of African Kings. Our Krewe was established in 1990 by Krewe Captain, Martin D. Lewis. The Krewe Chief is Martin D. Lewis and Ronald Preer as Assistant Chief. You may reach the K.A.K at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850)433-4427.