During this year’s homecoming, Dillard University students were surprised at the step show by a new contestant, the Student Government Association council. Dressed up in all black shirts with white numbers on the back and a variety of jeans, the SGA did the unexpected and hyped the crowd. Number nine Ronnell D. Perry “the ridicule,” which has been called inspirational, motivational, intriguing, unique and reliable danced and stepped with a button down under his shirt, heart panting, but keeping a smile for Dillard pride.
Perry, a junior international business and Spanish major, holds the responsibility of 19 hours, the titles of SGA vice president, student senate vice president, and One People president. His schedule is bombarded with meetings however, he still finds time for a social life and his writing. Perry coordinates events, assists the president of SGA, Dominique Hayes, in running meetings, initiates strategic moves for SGA and is the direct dialogue between student and administration to make sure that every students voice is not only heard but taken serious.
Perry was born to parents Vince Singleton and Michael Perry on Dec. 18, 1985 in Chicago at Provident Hospital. Perry started to follow his interest in writing and leadership at Roosevelt Elementary and Junior High in Dolton, IL where he was apart of student council and the art club. Though Perry was not apart of many leadership roles in high school, he still carried the strength and dedication to the arts and leadership in college. Last spring Perry ran for SGA vice president though the odds were against him because he is an openly gay male.
Perry said he feels that some people did not vote for him because he was gay, but many more voted for him because they recognize his leadership skills, honesty and school spirit. He also stated that if he runs again, he doesn’t think that he will not have that worry because he has illustrated competence, integrity and love for Dillard.
“Yes I think Ronnell is a good SGA vice president because he is active, he showed it with the washer and dryer issue. He promised that stuff would get changed and it has changed.” said Ashley Badon a sophomore, biology major from New Orleans.
According to Perry from the first day that he came on campus, Aug. 14, 2004, he has been true to himself. Mostly by focusing on things that make him similar to others, rather than focusing on his sexuality as something that would separate him from people.
“I officially came out to my dad this summer. I came out to my mom a few weeks ago,” Perry said. “The fact is black society, of which the smallest unit is the family, is hard on anyone that is different and threatens their norms.”
During his spare time you can find Perry at CafÃ©’ Noir the open mic show on campus, reciting poetry about several topics ranging from love to the lack of amenities on campus or walking on the French quarter listening to music on his ipod.
“I like his poetry because he is an artist and he is not afraid to voice his opinion and try new things.” said Sharde’ Jennings a junior mass communications major from Milwaukee.
According to Perry his poetry is inspired by personal experiences in relationships and his perspective of the world. Perry said I fear that people will focus on my sexuality so hard that they can not see me clearly.
Perry plans to work in a Spanish speaking country to help their economic development. Perry also plans to work in corporate America, international business and raise a family. Though Perry loves that SGA has taught him to not be so controlling, he does not plan to work in the political world in the future. Perry said, “I think you have to break too many promises and crush too many people to gain certain positions nationally.”