LAURINBURG — Eleven young women will take part in tonight’s Kuumba Pageant that serves as the opening event for the day-long Kuumba Festival on Saturday.
The Kuumba pageant will help pick a queen to reign over the free festival that was created to showcase and celebrate contributions by Africans and black Americans. The event is expected to draw up to 3,000 visitors.
The pageant begins at 6 p.m. at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $8 at the door. For children 5 to 12, tickets are $5.
Contestants will be judged on poise and appearance, personal introduction, personality during the interview segment, modeling, and talent. Organizers said the pageant works to help young women embrace their heritage and instill a sense of curiosity about the world outside of Scotland County.
The winners of the 2016 Kuumba Pageant will be crowned on Saturday. The festival — in its 26th year — will begin at 10 a.m. in Market Park, located at 17100 Lee’s Mill Road.
Pageant contestants will compete in three separate categories. They are:
The Kuumba Princess contestants are Jacee Robinson and Ja’Niyah Baker.
Jacee is the daughter of JerQuita Purvis and DeAndre Robinson. Jacee is 9 years old and attends Covington Street School. She said she is usually shy but being in the Kuumba Pageant has brought her out of her shell.
Her favorite quote is: “I may be quiet but my presence speaks volumes.”
Ja’Niyah is the daughter of Jeremy and Amanda Baker. She is 7 years old and attends Covington Street School. Ja”Niyah said she wanted to be in the Kuumba Pageant for community involvement and express her talent. Her favorite quote is: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself say ‘I’m possible.’ With Christ I can do all things.”
Kuumba Jr. Princess
The Kuumba Jr. Princess contestants are Daeshonda Patterson, Denise Lynch and Jordan Harris.
Daeshonda is the daughter of Erick and Kim Slocum. She is 12 years old and attends Springhill Middle School in Wagram. Daeshonda said she is in the Kuumba Pageant to learn how to better believe in herself. Daeshonda’s favorite quote is: “Promise me you’ll remember; You are Braver than you believe, stronger than you Seem; smarter than you think.”
Denise is the daughter of Leslie Ann Whittaker. Denise is 12 and attends Carver Middle School in Laurel Hill. Denise said that she wants to positively inspire her generation to embrace their culture, beliefs and dreams with a purpose and a noble spirit. Her favorite quote is: “Be brave, be creative, be kind, be thankful, be happy, be you.”
Jordan is the daughter of Rodnette Harris and John McAllister. She is 12 and attends Carver Middle School in Laurel Hill. Jordon said she wanted to be a part of the Kuumba Pageant because she thought it would be fun and she could make some new friends. Jordon’s favorite quote is: “Be somebody that makes everybody feel like somebody.”
The Kuumba Queen contestants are Kayla Covington, Chloe’ Strickland, Diamond Harrington, Raven Gordon, Shaleyah Monai Fleet and Mary McLean.
Kayla is the daughter Regena Covington and Jerome Norris. Kayla is 14 years old and attends Scotland High School. Kayla said being in the Kuumba Pageant has given her courage and confidence to do whatever and be who she chooses to be. Her favorite quote is: “Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.”
Chloe’ is the daughter of George and Lesley Strickland. She is 14 years old and attends Scotland Early College High School. Chloe’ said that she really enjoys the people that she is surrounded by. Her favorite quote is: “We are not born feeling inadequate, we are born knowing that we are enough.”
Diamond is the daughter Erick and Kim Slocum. Diamond is 16 years old and attends Scotland High School. Diamond said that she is usually very shy so being in the Kuumba Pageant will help overcome her shyness. Diamond’s favorite quote is: “You are capable of amazing things.”
Raven is the daughter Crystal McKoy and Ian Gordon. Raven is 16 years old and attends Scotland High School. Raven saidthat she always wanted to be a part of the Kuumba Pageant and Festival because of the different activities. Her favorite quote is: “Difficult doesn’t mean impossible. It simply means you have to work harder.”
Shaleyah is the daughter Sondra Renee’ Mackie and Samuel Fleet. Shaleyah is 16 years old and attends Scotland High School. Shaleyah is thankful that her mom and church members encouraged her to participate in the Kuumba Pageant. Shaleyah’s favorite quote is: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Mary is the daughter Elwood and Wanda Ratliff. Mary is 17 years old and attends Scotland High School. She entered the Kuumba Pageant to build her confidence, express her talent and to take a chance. Her favorite quote is: “Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.”