When the victories of a troubled past meet with today’s opportunities, the result can be beautiful. This years’ annual Juneteenth pageant was exactly that.
The Miss Juneteenth 2013 pageant was held on Friday, June 7 in the T.H Harris Auditorium on the campus of Grambling State University. The Epsilon Alpha Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. sponsored the event just as they have done for the past nine years.
The Pageant is separated into three groups of competitors: Little Miss Juneteenth (ages 5 to 10), Miss Junior Juneteenth (ages 11 to 15), and Miss Juneteenth (ages 16 to 22). The girls in each group compete in two rounds, one for best style, one for best talent and an additional questioning round for the young ladies in the Miss Juneteenth group. Each round was judged by five pre-selected judges.
This year’s pageant theme was a salute to African American women in the armed forces. The show opened with the young ladies marching out onto the stage in army formation and wearing military fatigues. Each girl announced themselves with the military ranking of private before they stated their name.
Following the introductions was recognition of all past Juneteenth queens and then the pageant began.
The first round was style. Each young lady wore a stylish outfit and walked around the stage to an up-beat, lively tune. Next was the talent round. The girls showed their unique gifts ranging from praise and contemporary dance to singing.
The third round was designed specifically for the young ladies in the 16 to 22 age group. Each contestant randomly picked a question and answered it. At the end of this round the judges submitted their scores to be tallied and the audience waited in anticipation for a winner to be announced.
The winner of the Little Miss Juneteenth category was Sydney Millage who had wowed the judges with her expressive contemporary dance routine.
When asked if she was excited to be little Miss Juneteenth Miller replied “Yes, because I have been waiting for a long time.” She also said she wanted to be a professional Broadway dancer when she grew up.
Jade Calton was the winner of the Miss Juneteenth group. Her quick and witty response in the question and answer round had brought smiles to the judges’ faces. In response to what it meant to be Miss Juneteenth 2013 Calton said, “It means I can represent all the women in our past who fought for our freedom.”
When asked what she would want the community to know about the event, pageant coordinator Kimberly McCarter had this to say on the issue, “I want the community to understand that Juneteenth is about our freedom…. this pageant is not just about a queen, it is about informing our children about their history so they can understand their future…if we don’t support them who will?”