The Newnan Times-Herald


Annual pageant celebrates ‘African-Americans in the Arts’

  • By Taylor Robins
  • |
  • Jul. 09, 2018 - 11:32 PM

Annual pageant celebrates ‘African-Americans in the Arts’

Photo courtesy of the Neweta Club

Starlis Thompson, left, won the high school section of the Black Awareness Pageant. Jayilah Elder placed as first runner up on April 28.

After the Neweta Club of Coweta County held their annual Black Awareness Pageant, plans were already in motion to prepare for next year’s event.

Proceeds from the fundraiser go to student scholarships and the organization’s youth activities.

This year’s theme celebrated the accomplishments of African-Americans who had notable historical artistic contributions.

Some themes throughout the years have included the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case and African-American history in the military.

Every year, the students incorporate the theme into their presentations.

The contestants were challenged to study hard and embrace education as a lifelong experience.

“The pageant helps to better their self-esteem,” said Brenda Martin, Neweta Club president and pageant coordinator. “We want them to know that our heritage is rich and that a lot of contributions were made to this country and the world by African-Americans dating way back.”

For next year, the Neweta Club hopes to have more high school student participation, along with an increase in their social media presence.

Martin said the organization would also like to see more boys compete in the business and professional category for the pageant for the title of “Mr. B&P."

The organization held their 2018 Black Awareness Pageant at the Wadsworth Auditorium April 28.

Kaelin Garnigan, the 2017 Miss Black Awareness winner, welcomed everyone to the pageant. Freddie Britt and Angelique Simmons served as host and hostess for the evening,  introducing the contestants during the pageant processional. A special feature of the pageant program was the contestant presentation of facts about the theme.

“The audience exhibited excitement during the beautiful and educational processional,” said Martin. “The applause and positive reaction for the closing song, ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ was a hit where all contestants performed with Freddie Britt.”

Britt is a vocalist who collaborated with the contestants for the 1996 R. Kelly song.

Ryan Hill won Mr. B&P, with Calen Lastie taking first runner-up and Ashton Barner taking second runner-up.

For the high school section, Starlis Thompson won and Jayilah Elder took home first runner-up.

Angel Richardson won in the middle school section, with London Martin winning first runner-up.

Morgan Cleveland won in the first- through fifth-grade section. While Kasey Davis won first runner up and Adrianuna Bussie winning second runner-up.

Angelique Taniya Reese won in the Preschool and Kindergarten section. While Jonay Quida Hill won first runner-up and Nyla Tyrell Bonner winning second runner-up.

The Neweta Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club is in the process of planning their 2019 Black Awareness Pageant.

“We have been having this for a long time, over 40 years really,” said Martin. “It not only serves as our annual fundraiser, but it’s the most important children and youth program that our organization has.”

Next year’s program will be a continuation of “African-Americans in the Arts,” focusing on all varieties of modern artists.

Martin will be stepping down from her position as Neweta Club president in September. She will continue to serve as the pageant coordinator.