Morgan Harris | Staff Writer
Brenan Holston, a Hampton University graduating senior International Studies major from Atlanta, was crowned the 20th Mister Pirate on Oct. 1, during the Mister Pirate pageant. He competed against four other contestants for the 2021-2022 title.
Holston is truly the jack-of-all-trades as a college student, and his primary goal is to make a positive change not only on the campus of Hampton University but also in the lives of its students as well.
Holston is a proud member of the Gamma Iota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, serving as the chaplain, treasurer and the candyman — the stroll master for the chapter. He is also a member of the Written Water Writing Club, Model United Nations Club, and Sticky Situation — the percussion section of the Hampton University Marching Force.
Holston has big plans as the new male face of Hampton University. Among his plethora of changes is a potential Mister Pirate name makeover of Mister Hampton University to match the Miss Hampton University title, as this has been a passion of previous Mister Pirates.
In a sit-down interview, the newly crowned senior talks about his time at Hampton and what major changes he hopes to bring with his new title.
HS: What encouraged you to run for Mister Pirate?
BH: “At first, it was a suggestion from my line brothers. I didn’t want to at the time. But then, as I thought it out and what that position means to people, I had to take the time away from them and think, ‘Why not? Be someone [students] can look up to or put yourself in the position.’ At the time, I didn’t know if I would make it or not. I didn’t know if it was a long interview process or if I was even going to win the pageant.”
HS: What sets you apart from the other candidates?
BH: “I think the best way to answer that honestly would be my platform. It’s I.C.E., I Choose Everyone, and it’s for promoting inclusivity and interconnectivity across disciplines to create a more unified student body. I think that my platform’s focus is on just the students. The students that go here, especially in this post-COVID-19 world where we are worried about everything else other than just being at Hampton and just living the college life. I think if anything, that would probably be the most important thing to help me stick out.”
HS: How has your time at Hampton been, and how has it affected you as an individual?
BH: “My time at Hampton … I’m not going to lie. When I first got here, I did not want to be here. I wanted to go [to another college]. I went to a private school where I was a minority, of course, and it was just like a culture shock. It felt like I was just going out of my way to do all this stuff. But over time, and just through the friends I’ve met on the drumline and the friends I’ve met just in regular classes and learning professors, dealing with your fellow Black people is different from dealing with other races. And just learning things over time changed me. I try not to just keep my mind boxed up in one [way] like this is how things need to be. I try to enlighten situations. I think that has changed me over time.”
HS: What are you going to do differently compared to the previous Mister Pirates? What is your agenda?
BH: “From what I’ve understood so far, a lot of what I do seems to be to help Miss Hampton University. I would like to bring the Mister Pirate name and position to something that could stand on its own. Of course, [there have] been 64 Miss Hampton University [students selected] and only 20 Mister Pirates, but I think that to treat it as if [there have] been 64 Mister Pirates would work to implement my platform and more than just that, just to help students. To be a friend for every student, to be a mentor, or if I need to be someone for everyone, that would be the best way to go forward. Even though it’s named Mister Pirate, to treat it as though it’s Mister and Miss Hampton University.”
In his newly added capacity, he is excited to work alongside Zahria Brandon, the 2021-2022 Miss Hampton University, and he believes she will be an excellent partner in their latest venture.