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

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Miss Black EIU to return after a year off

A+poster+of+all+three+contestants+of+all+three+Miss+Black+EIU+Pageant+contestants+Thursday+in+the+Grand+Ballroom.
Cam’ron Hardy
A poster of all three contestants of all three Miss Black EIU Pageant contestants Thursday in the Grand Ballroom.

The 51st Miss Black EIU pageant returns Feb. 24 after being canceled last year due to a lack of participation.  

This year’s pageant consists of three contestants: Destinee Patterson, junior secondary education and English language arts major, Rafiat Yarrow, senior political science major, and Samaria Rosenthal, senior psychology major. 

Ariel Taylor is the coordinator for the pageant as well as the program specialist in the Student Life Office. 

Taylor said that she was adamant on bringing the pageant back. 

As coordinator, Taylor oversees everything regarding planning the pageant including production, marketing and other behind-the-scenes roles. When she was a student at EIU, she helped work behind-the-scenes at the pageants as well. 

Taylor said she enjoyed seeing all the contestants getting out of their shells and getting comfortable.

Destinee Patterson, junior secondary education and English language arts major, plays piano at practice for the Miss Black EIU pageant Thursday in the Grand Ballroom. (Cam’ron Hardy)

To be a part of the pageant, contestants must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and must raise $500 individually. 

Taylor said she looks forward to everyone seeing all of the hard work that the contestants have been doing. 

“I want everybody to see all their hard work and see that they’re dedicated and very talented young women,” Taylor said. 

During practice, those working on the pageant stressed the importance of light and sound working together.  

Patterson said she wanted to be a part of the pageant due to family being a part of it in the past. She also said she appreciates the history behind the pageant. 

She enjoys the fact that the pageant is way to celebrate African American women and culture. 

She also said “there’s a lot of pressure but no problem” with being one of the people involved in the return of the pageant. 

Patterson did not tryout in previous years because she felt as though it was not her time, she said. She was the background assistant during the last pageant. 

“Hopefully if I win, I would like to talk about the pageant, try to get more women involved and really encourage them to try out,” Patterson said. 

Rosenthal said she wanted to join the pageant to get out of her comfort zone. 

“I feel like my confidence could be a little bit better, so I want to try something along new avenues and try new things,” Rosenthal said. 

She thinks that doing the pageant will be a way for her to work on public speaking. 

Rosenthal said practices have been hectic, causing her to lose out on sleep. Overall, she said she thinks everything’s coming along “pretty great.” 

She said she has been feeling a lot of pressure and is looking forward to it being over. 

Yarrow said she wanted to participate in this year’s pageant because of her experience during the 2022 pageant. 

“It was the first time I had seen it, and I thought it was just beautiful,” Yarrow said. “It had everything that I aspired to do for the community in one. I just thought it was an opportunity for me to show what I want to bring to my community, what I want to offer to my peers and the future generations.” 

She wanted to premiere in last year’s pageant but was sad when she found out that it was canceled. 

Yarrow said she wanted to show other girls on campus to not be afraid of expressing themselves. 

“Don’t be afraid to show yourself off to your peers. Whether they’re gonna judge you or not, at least you did it and [they’re] still sitting in their seats,” Yarrow said. 

Yarrow said she finds the pageant and practice as good preparation for the future as well. 

The 51st Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant will take place in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union in the Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. Saturday. 

Tickets bought in advance cost $7, while tickets at the door cost $10. 

  

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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