New Orleans, La. — This year's Zulu Royalty sat down to discuss their seemingly magical reign beaming with enthusiasm.
For the king, Zulu has been a part of his world, all of his life.
"We didn't miss a parade," said King Zulu 2012 Cedric George Givens as he sat down for an interview with FOX 8's Sabrina Wilson.
And now decades later he has the honor of being king of the charismatic carnival krewe.
"Back in 2005 I reigned as governor and just all the hype behind just being governor that's when I started considering the next step of becoming King Zulu," said King Zulu.
His relationship with the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club began in 1994 as part of the Krewe of Young Warriors. In 1999, Mr. Givens gained associate membership, and in July 2003 he got the coveted full membership status.
A day after Fat Tuesday 2012, he began his campaign to be King this year.
"I put on two parties, that was costly, and just sending out gifts, everything to the guys just trying to get them to support you," he stated.
Givens is a graduate of Southwestern Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana Lafayette). He attended New Orleans public schools and graduated from Alcee Fortier High.
Currently, Givens is Vice President of Operations for Intercontinental Private Equity Partners. As such, he oversees and manages office operation and transportation in 20 countries.
Still he is humbled to have been chosen King Zulu.
"Privilege that you know you'll never forget," he said.
His wife, Queen Zulu Monica Veal Givens, was all in from the moment her husband decided he would pursue the role of king.
"We love to have fun, we're very sociable people," stated Queen Zulu.
The queen's roots are steeped in New Orleans, as well.
Before college, she also graduated from Alcee Fortier High School.
She has been involved with Zulu in various capacities since 2004, and is zealous about assisting with its annual Toys for Tots giveaway.
"They are known for the lavish parade but they contribute a lot to the community," the queen said.
As an Orleans Parish School Board Business manager, assigned to McDonogh 35 College Preparatory School, education has been the queen's yearlong platform.
"I've tried to talk with the students about staying in school," she said.
Both are in agreement on one of their most memorable moments during their reign. It was the queen and her court's arrival at Louis Armstrong Airport from Houston to much fanfare.
"The queen's arrival, and you know I was very excited about that, just coming through that airport and seeing all the excitement," said the king.
"It was just a feeling that I could not describe," said the queen.
Both have received numerous handcrafted gifts.
"This is a very unique coconut I had designed this year, and this happens to be your coconut, Sabrina," the king said while holding his special coconut.
They are Zulu royalty with a generous spirit and lots of well wishes for parade watchers on Fat Tuesday, especially the young.
"I want them to know that I'm a GOD fearing woman, to know that they can have big dreams and to just know that nothing is ever impossible, but to just always stay true to yourself," said the queen.
"School is number one. Staying in school is very important," said the king.
They are anticipating a magical ride.
"I just want to take it all in and I don't ever want to forget the moment," said Queen Monica Givens.