Miss Black EIU 2019 crowned Saturday


Raine Zhu

Latricia Booker, a sophomore pre-nursing major and one of the the contestants of the 48th annual Miss Black EIU scholarship pageant, dresses in African garment piece to show what she believes a strong African-American woman looks like in the Grand Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. Union on Saturday night.

Imani Tapley, Staff Reporter

Balloons and steamers decorated the stairwell leading to the Grand Ballroom as the 48th annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant unfolded Saturday night.

Audience members cheered and shouted from beginning to end, especially when contestant No. 3 Latricia Booker, a sophomore pre-nursing major, stole the show and was crowned Miss Black EIU 2019.

Contestant No. 4 Alexis Paige, a junior marketing major, was the runner up and contestant No. 5 Jacqueline Williams, a freshman kinesiology and sports studies major, was the second runner-up.

A total of five contestants were judged in four categories which included creative expression, talent, African garment and heritage speech and evening wear.

In the creative expression category contestants acted out a scene that was related to their past lives.

For example, contestant No. 1 Mary Fleming, a junior applied engineering and technology major, talked about how she was bullied at a young age and believed that she would not become anything.

However, she said she overcame her doubts and was going to achieve much more in her life.

In the talent category, contestants performed different forms dancing, played instruments or did gymnastics.

And, for the African garment and heritage speech category, a prerecorded speech about what contestants’ heritages meant to them played in the background as they strutted across the stage wearing traditional African outfits.

During the final category, contestants dressed up in elegant dresses as they walked onto the stage, escorted by their fathers.

They were each asked one question that related to life choices or politics.

Ishmaels Williams, an alumnus, was in the audience and said the pageant was important for Eastern.

He said when he transferred to Eastern, the pageant was one of the first things he got involved with on campus because he helped out with one of the contestants at that time.

He said once he learned about the history of the pageant and its importance, he said he felt that it is important to come back to Eastern.

“(Miss Black EIU) is something for the culture, black beauty … black girls rock,” Williams said. “(It is) something made for us by us.”

Business management major Chanel Carter was in the audience and said the pageant is unique and important.

“It is important for the black women to be acknowledged for black excellence on campus, and I believe that everyone is doing great,” Carter said.

Imani Tapley can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].