The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Miss Black EIU conveys cultural experience

Candace Collins is one of four contestants for the Miss Black EIU pageant. The 38th Annual Miss Black EIU pageant begins at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. University Union.

“Honestly, I wanted the experience,” said Collins, a senior graphics design major. “I wanted to do this since I was a freshman. This is my year to step out and try something new.”

Collins said she has had to sacrifice a lot of her time.

“I had some really understanding teachers, so it all worked out really well,” she said.

The contestants are judged on a creative expression topic of their choosing, a talent, an African garment contest, an evening gown contest and impromptu questions.

Topics under the creative expression section could include topics such as underage drinking, drunk driving, STDs within the community, AIDS awareness and child or spouse abuse.

Collins’ platform is based on women loving themselves and exploring different values of love.

For Collins’ talent portion, she will sing the gospel song “No Greater Love” by the GMWA Mass Choir.

“I hope to inspire women on campus,” Collins said.

LaShawn Harris, a senior biological sciences major, is also competing.

“I decided to be involved as an opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and to show my talent and to try to be an example for others,” Harris said. “This was an opportunity to be exposed and make the most of my college years here at Eastern.”

For her talent, Harris will sing “Hero” by Mariah Carey. Her creative expression will focus on drinking and driving with the theme “Play it Smart.”

“I plan to first be an example of a true leader and try to motivate everyone to realize their own self-worth and self-value,” Harris said.

Fritzlene Emile and Unique McIntosh are the two other contestants.

This year’s pageant theme is “Women of Distinction: Empowered, Intelligent, Unique.”

“Every year there’s a different theme, and it reflects the strong heritage behind the event,” said Keila Lacy, Miss Black EIU event coordinator.

Last year’s theme was “On the Wings of Destiny.”

The pageant started in 1971 to bring pride, awareness and an expression of culture to the African-American community, Lacy said.

She said the pageant pays special tribute to heritage, cultural expression and an appreciation to who the contestants are as individuals.

Lacy said students, alumni, past Miss Black EIU winners and the contestant’s family and friends are common attendees at the pageant.

Ceci Brinker, director of student life, said 500 tickets were sold for the actual pageant and 700 for the after-party in the University Ballroom of the Union.

A reception, courtesy of Panther Catering, will also be held for family members and judges two hours before the event in the Grand Ballroom.

For the pageant, a red carpet will lead to the front doors of the Grand Ballroom. Reserved seating will be available for V.I.P. family, faculty and staff.

The after-party will feature a dance immediately following the pageant.

Brinker has attended more than half of the 38 Miss Black EIU pageants.

“I think through the years, technology has played a bigger role with how innovative women have been showcasing their talents,” Brinker said. “I think there has been an increase in the diversity and talent level.”

Brinker said typically contestants dance and sing, but recently talents have expanded into playing musical instruments and doing opera.

Brinker said being in the pageant takes a lot of time and commitment.

“The young women who separate themselves are stand-out young women who invest so much of themselves and so much of their time,” Brinker said. “All the contestants are worthy, but the judges have to decide who the crown should be bestowed upon.”

Brinker said the queen’s duties are to participate in Homecoming, create a program dealing with their creative expression issue, talk on forums and be a student representative for major university events.

“She is expected to serve as a student role model inside and outside the student classroom,” Brinker said. “She also deals with Black Student Union events.”

Tickets for the pageant and the after party can be purchased for $10 each at the door.

Heather Holm can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected].

More African-American Heritage Month events:

Miss Black EIU conveys cultural experience

Miss Black EIU conveys cultural experience

Last year’s Miss Black EIU winner Chandra Golden walks down the runway on Jan. 24, 2008, in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. This year’s competition will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Univers


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest