The legendary Dusable Museum of African American History hosted the 2015 Miss Black Illinois Pageant on Saturday, Oct. 25. Actor Richard Gallion and Gospel House Music Diva Dana Divine were the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies. Amid the clamour of applause only one of the young women would walk away with the title to represent those who have come before her to lead and set an example for those to come after. Under the tutelage of Tina DeNard, Executive Director of the Miss Black Illinois Scholarship organization, each contestant is groomed to shine regardless of wearing the title. All the contestants arrayed in their beautiful gowns graced the stage in hopes of wearing the the coveted crown and sash. Before they could strut their stuff on stage, Tina DeNard and her staff took them through strenuous training. The pageantry world is not all about looks. Education and community service are stressed and the ladies gain life skills to make them well-rounded.
On this evening as well, contestants for the Miss Black Talented Teen took to the stage. At this point in their lives, it is most crucial to have mentorship. The Miss Black Illinois Scholarship organization provides these young ladies with the resources to build their self-esteem and self-confidence, which are necessary characteristics to face the ups and downs of life. Miss Black Talented Teen USA 2014 Alexandria Marie du Buclet and Miss Black Illinois USA 2014 Mariah N. Scott made their final walk across the stage signifying the end of their reign and the passing on of the crown. Alexandria and Mariah have served their fellow contestants and community well. Whether they were traveling the world, advocating for designated organizations, performing, or making appearances, Mariah and Alexandria have set the bar very high for the next Miss Black Illinois and Miss Black Talented Teen. As each contestant displayed their talent, addressed the panel of judges during Q & A, and showcase poise and grace for the final round, family, friends and well-wishers applauded and show their support. No matter who became the wearer of the crown, they all have accomplished great things over this past year. The judges, Patrick Patterson, Rhea A. Henderson, Jalissa Meredith-Hills and Carl West, critiqued and casted their votes. The ladies took the stage fo find out their fate. JaTaune Bosby, Board of Director/Communications and Outreach Manager, spoke the names of those who were recognized for their high scores in each category and they were awarded with plaques. Miss Black Illinois
After each contestant was called to step forward, the line dwindled and those who had hoped to wear the crown came to the realization that this was not their time. The time was at hand and the names of the ladies to wear the crown for the 2015 Miss Black Illinois and Miss Black Talented Teen were about to be read. Zoie Horton received her crown and will reign Miss Black Talented Teen USA 2015 and Destiny Lee will reign as Miss Black Illinois USA 2015 and wear her crown proudly.