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Those who attended Jazzy Jeans & Jewels -- the annual denim-meets-glam benefit hosted by the Little Rock Chapter of The Links Inc. -- were treated to a bit of Crescent City flavor ... blinking beads, masks, and all. "Mardi Gras in the Rock: A Fusion of New Orleans " was the theme of the event, held June 1 at the Metroplex.

Sonta James, known as "Sonta Jean the KOKY Queen" on KOKY-FM, served as master of ceremonies. DJ Paul, also a KOKY personality, spun dance tunes.

Arkansas' four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are the rotating beneficiaries of Jazzy Jeans. This year marked Philander Smith College's turn. Charles King, representing the university, accepted an oversized check for $15,000.

In keeping with tradition, guests got to sample dishes and beverages prepared via "A Taste of Links" -- special theme booths by the spouses and children of Links members. Among the gustatory delights were Mexican food, deli bites, meatballs, pasta, good old Southern cooking, bratwurst and hot dogs, desserts, ... and of course, some New Orleans-inspired jambalaya.

Gallery: Jazzy Jeans & Jewels: Mardi Gra in the Rock

During the program, chapter President Lana Nayles gave remarks. Along with fellow Link Connie Curry, Lottie Shackelford made a fund-a-need appeal, telling attendees that they -- on a smaller scale -- could be like Robert L. Smith, the billionaire who recently pledged to pay all student debt of the Morehouse College class of 2019. The pair announced that the Little Rock Chapter had awarded about $142,000 to the HBCUs via the event thus far.

A dance contest that had been billed as "Dancing with HBCU Presidents" actually featured other representatives of Jazzy Jeans' beneficiary institutions. Angelica Perkins and Harold Hunter of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff gave the winning dance performance. Later, Links members and guests did a bit of dancing themselves, including a "second line" parade on the dance floor and between tables.

High Profile on 06/09/2019

Print Headline: Mardi Gras at the Metroplex

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