Women blossom on stage at 45th annual Miss Black


Josh Saxton

Julianne Adegoriolu, a junior kinesiology and sports studies major waves at the crowd after being crowned Miss Black EIU 2016 on Saturday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Torri Griffith, Staff Reporter

Determined to give up on her life in 2012, Julianne Adegoridu used Miss Black EIU as a platform to shed light on her attempted suicide.

Adegoridu was crowned Miss Black EIU 2016 out of nine contestants during the annual pageant on Saturday.

In her creative expressions piece, Adegoridu spoke about society having demoralized her mentally and physically.

Adegoridu is Nigerian, and she spoke about being teased because of her culture.

She said her smile and outgoing personality often hid her pain.

Adegoridu said this was the first time she told the world about her story; she said her mother found out about her suicide attempt two weeks before the pageant.

“I had to reassure my mom that this was a testimony,” Adegoridu said. “Although this girl did die, a new person emerged.”

She said this tragic event not only made her a stronger person, but it also strengthened her religion and made her realize the true meaning of life.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” Adegoridu said.

The Black Student Union hosted the 45th annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant.

The contestants were referred to as rosebuds that blossomed into beautiful roses by the end of the night.

Dressed in matching white and tan high heels, the nine women entered the stage with sounds of Beyoncé’s “Flawless.”
Ashley Howard, a senior communication studies major, and Isis Sims, a junior kinesiology and sports studies major, hosted the event.

“The crown will be given to the queen who grows in spite of her thorns and blooms,” Sims said.

Jessica Stallworth, contestant No.1 and a senior health studies major, said her motto is taken from Proverbs 31:24: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

N’Keyah Taylor, contestant No. 2 and a senior health administration major, said her motto is “you only see obstacles when you lose sight of the goal.”

Solanje Dorsey, contestant No. 3 and a family and consumer sciences major, said this pageant has taught her to be more open and confident.

Dorsey said the minorities on campus decided it was time to make a change in the way African-Americans were treated on campus.

Meka AlTaqi-Brown, contestant No. 4 and a junior journalism major, said her motto is to never stop dreaming.

Adegoridu, contestant No. 5 and a junior kinesiology major, said her motto is “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.”

Danielle Crawford, contestant No. 6 and a senior communication studies major, said her motto is “What does not kill you will only make you stronger; you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

Maliya Smith, contestant No. 7 and a senior psychology major, said her motto is “Live as if you will die tomorrow, and dream as if you will live for ever.”

Martina Austin, contestant No. 8 amd a senior health studies major, said her motto is Romans 8:18: “The pain you are feeling now does not compare to the joy that is coming.”

Aaliyah Stephen, contestant No. 9 and a junior communication studies major, said her motto is “People fear what they do not understand, so be brave, be open minded and always remember to be yourself.”

Stallworth named her creative expressions piece “50 Shades of Nothing.”

Stallworth spoke of having low self-esteem at age 7.

Wearing a shirt that read “Got Melanin,” Stallworth admitted that she was often bullied because of the darkness of her skin.

“Why do we rob our little girls of their confidence due to their skin color?” Stallworth said.

Stallworth said 77 percent of Nigerian women use skin bleaching products.

She said it took her until her college years to realize her black is beautiful.

Crawford titled her piece “Cherish Life” and dedicated it to her late mother.

In her emotional monologue, Crawford struggled to hold back her tears in attempt to tell her story.

“Push through even when it seems impossible,” Crawford said.

Austin titled her creative expressions piece “A Piece of Me,” and she said her low self-esteem was rooted in being self-conscious about her weight.

She said she believes women need to break the chains that society has placed upon them.

“Society shuns my confidence but spoon feeds me my flaws,” Austin said.

Austin said she wants women to know that they are more than their waistline.

“There is no need to fix what God already put his paint brush on,” Austin said.

In the African Garment section, the women did a runway walk and performed monologues stating what their African-American heritage meant to them.

Taylor, wearing a gold and black African printed romper, said she is proud of her heritage because she has the characteristics of a queen.

“Being black in America has taught me courage, dignity and strength,” Taylor said.

Reciting Nina Simone’s “Four Women,” Dorsey strutted gracefully around the stage dressed in a multi-colored dress and headband with gold accessories.

“I come from a long lineage of strong black queens,” Dorsey said.

Dressed in a floor-length black and shiny gold accented dress, Stephen said her skin tone is pure and forever.

During her talent section, Smith titled her piece “Grown Woman.”

Smith was dressed in black shorts, a black jacket with gold accents, and a black hat.

She began with a tap dance routine and lead into    a dance routine with several different songs, including Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman”.

Before Adegoridu was crowned, the nine rosebuds received several different awards.

Stallworth earned several including Miss Togetherness, Miss Congeniality and Miss Enterprise.

The first runner up for the Miss Black EIU crown was Stephens; the second runner up was Smith, and the third Runner up was AlTaqi-Brown.

Adegoridu said she is proud of each of her pageant sisters, and they way they put their hearts out in the pageant.

“We are a phenomenal group of women,” Adegoridu said. “Our personalities are so different, but we mesh so beautifully.”


Torri Griffith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]