It was gathering of splendor and pageantry as girls and boys from area Houston schools showcased their talents in hopes of being crowned Miss and Mr. Juneteenth 2016 at the 8th Annual Mildred Johnson Miss Juneteenth Pageant presented by Friends of Emancipation Park and held at Trinity United Methodist Church.
A total of 18 contestants competed in the following categories (ages 3-5) Little Miss Juneteenth, (ages 6-9) Junior Miss Juneteenth, (ages 12 and up) Miss Juneteenth for the young ladies. The young men, fell into two categories (ages 3-5) and (ages 5-12) Mr. Juneteenth and Mr. Handsome respectfully.
The pageant promotes community service, academic excellence, as well as encouraging poise and positive self-esteem.
In addition, the contestants were judge on their Juneteenth paper and poster competition. The four-judge panel also scored the contestants on their One-on-One interviews which was conducted immediately after each of them took to the stage to showcase their pageant-walk.
There were 18 contestants in four categories. Addison DeBoest, Kainaan Jones and Faith White represented the Girls 3-5 Year Olds. Next was the 6-9 Yearl Olds Girls. The participants were Olivia Rogers, Symone Jones, Yanni White, Zoriyah Mack, Za’nya Forsey and Zanora Dorsey. The older girls category 12 and Up participants were Raven Jacson, Kayla Ceasar and Terykah Lewis.
The Boys 5-12 year participants were O’ryan Rogers, Cornelius White, Jakiyea Mack, Jaylon Mack, Lawrence See and LeMarcus Thomas.
A total of five titles were awarded in the Miss Juneteenth 2016 Pageant, where Raven Jackson,12 earned the title of Miss Juneteenth, Addison DeBoest, 6 won Junior Miss Juneteenth and Kainaan Jones, 5 was named Little Miss Juneteenth. O’ryan Roger, 5 was crowned Mr. Juneteenth and Lawrence See, 9 won Mr. Handsome.
The runner-ups, Kayla Ceasar and Terykah Lewis/Miss Juneteenth, Olivia Rogers and Za’nora Dorsey/Junior Miss Juneteenth and Faith White/Little Miss Juneteenth along with Cornelius White/Mr. Juneteenth joined by Jaylon Mack and Jakiyea/Mr. Handsome will joined the title holders in the 43rd Juneteenth Parade and Music Festival.
LeMarcus Thomas, 2015 Mr. Mr. Juneteenth graciously gave his final walk recalling how it has been an honor to have carried a title in recognition of Juneteenth.
“When I won last year, I had a general idea of the significance of Juneteenth. For instance while all of the Black enslaved people in the nation had been freed, Texas was the last state to get word,” he said.
“That means that Black folks were still in slavery. When word finally arrived in 1865 of June 19th, they rejoiced. That is why we celebrate this day of freedom still today.”
Thomas went on to say that over the past year he has met many important people. And that he really enjoyed being in the parade and the bike that he won. He also said that he enjoyed meeting the Annise Parker, the mayor at the time.
“Mayor Parker told me to ‘keep doing what you are doing and to stay on the right track’.”
Thomas said that his future plans are to enjoy his summer and have fun because he will be entering high school next year.
Mrs. Mildred Johnson had a word for the audience. She thanked the parents and gave special homage to the grandparents. “When you trust someone with your children you trust God,” she said.
Mrs. Johnson said that it takes a lot of work to do what they do. “All of the pretty dresses, costumes, decorations, etc. I directed this pageant by telephone. I told everybody what to do and want needed to be done. I want to thank Dorris Ellis, Dorcaus Robinson, the committee, the judges and KijanaWiseman.”
She went on to say she is looking forward to the parade and that Mayor Sylvester Turner is taking an active role in the parade. Also she informed the crowd that if all goes well that the Juneteenth court could be part of the upcoming Super Bowl LI to take place in Houston.
Sponsor of the 2016 Juneteenth Pageant were Gerald and Anita Smith, This Is It Restaurant, Houston Super Bowl Committee, Ladies of Golf and Priscilla Graham Photography.