UC Communication Major Finds Voice In UC Competition
UC student Tyler Adams is focusing his winning platform as this year's Mr. Kuamka on mentorship.
Date: 2/1/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Camri Nelson
Phone: (513) 556-4350
Photos By: AACRC
Tyler Adams never planned on attending the University of Cincinnati. The communication major grew up in Bond Hill and, after graduating from Walnut Hills High School, he set his sights on Morehouse College.
Then a Pride Grant, which covers his full tuition and includes a book allowance, made the opportunity to attend UC too good to pass up. Adams entered his first year as an exploratory studies student in the College of Arts and Sciences. He was intent on finding a way to harness his talents for connecting with others while pursuing a career in business. Now a communication major and international business minor, he said the chance to build on his communication strengths as well as study abroad appealed to him.
Today, some of his greatest successes, in leadership and life, have happened outside of the classroom. His extensive campus involvement includes a stint as a Student Orientation Leader, membership in the Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor society and involvement in the campus’ African American Culture and Resource Center (AACRC). He is the vice president of Black Arts Collaborative, the creative director for the Fashion Syndicate, an executive board member of the AACRC choir and a former UBSA Leadership Committee member. No matter the affiliation, Adams’ focus is always clear.
“I want to show students that there is a way for them to find their voice and use it,” he said. “They don’t have to do it through joining a gang, or using drugs or alcohol. Instead they can use their voices through art.”
His passion for sharing that message led him to the 2017 Mr. & Miss Kuamka Extravangza, an annual pageant hosted by the AACRC. It allows students to showcase their talents and share platforms they embrace in efforts to support their communities. .This year’s theme was “Battle Cry,” which was to show how black students fight for equity and show pride through academic, personal and professional success.
For Adams, the preparation and experience were intensely personal. He focused his platform on mentorship as a powerful tool to empower black youth. He hopes to engage with students at Cincinnati charter schools in particular, and use the opportunity to share his passion for music, drama, poetry and dance.
During the Kuamka talent show, Adams not only performed the song “Stand” by Donnie McClurkin, he shared the story of challenges he faced during his sophomore year.
“I came from being physically and mentally abused, to be depressed, to trying to commit suicide,” he said. “I put myself out there in front of the whole university, and I actually feel better now.”
Despite his hard work and dedication, Adams said he never thought he would win the competition.
“It opened up my eyes,” he said of the win. “I just needed to believe in myself.”
He recalled waking up the morning after his win and looking over at this desk to see his crown and trophies.
“I haven’t had a moment like that since I graduated from high school,” he said. “It was a moment where I realized that I tapped into my full potential.”
He added that participating in the pageant helped him see the value of family and friendships. It also encouraged him to see the goals and platforms of those around him.
“Everyone’s platform is very important to our society today,” he said. He noted that the causes address struggles that young people and UC community members face.