The Miss Black Florida USA started in 1987 as the state final for the Miss Black USA. The last official pageant was held in Florida in 1995 and was promoted as The Miss Black Florida USA Scholarship Pageant. Now the famed pageant built on black pride is having Florida resurgence with the crowning o the first Miss Black Florida Queen in nearly 25 years.
This year’s pageant was under the tutelage of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate Ricardo Andrews. In 2017, after hearing about the Miss Black USA system and noticing its absence, Andrews reached out to the national office to inquire if Florida had a state pageant whre he found out that Florida had not held a pageant since 1995.
This led to Andrews becoming the Executive Director of the regenerated efforts to produce the 2018 pageant in Jacksonville. According to Andrews, there are no salaried positions and the pageant’s budget is raised through the generosity of sponsors and donors. The Miss Black Florida USA Scholarship Program is designed to develop, celebrate, and assist with the social, professional and civic goals of African-American women ages 18-27 and teens ages 14-17.
“We believe minority women and teens should be economically empowered, politically astute, spiritually centered and civic minded to represent the pageants goals and objectives,” said Andrews.
Andrews says that the event is also an opportunity for women and teens to obtain a sense of well being, self-confidence and stature by competing for a prestigious title that will continue to enhance their lives, their families and their communities.
The competition is for women throughout the state who meet the following requirements: single (never been married), 18-27 years of age at time of competition and a legal resident or attend college in Florida. The Teen competition is for teens who meet the following requirements: ages 13-17 years of age at time of competition, residents and attend school in Florida.
Both Miss and Teen Winners received cash scholarships, crown, sash, flowers and the exciting position of Miss Black Florida USA and Miss Black Florida Talented Teen 2019. Shown (l-r):Jade Tilery, Lauren Prater, Rhodesia Lee Butler, Mikel Andrews (Miss 2nd Runner-up), De’Laija Napier (Miss 1st Runner-up), Drianca Baxter (Miss Black Florida USA 2019), Ricardo Andrews (organizer/pageant director, Faith Powers (Miss Black Florida Talented Teen 2019), Erica Carnegie (Teen 1st Runner-up), Essence Burton (Teen 2nd Runner-up), Precious Robles (3rd Runner-up), Jamal Collins, Saniece Anderson and Lo’Real Butler. (Rava Watson photos)