Miss Africa New England Beauty Pageant, 2017

The contestants of the 2017 Miss Africa New England
From left to right: Miss Ghana, Miss Liberia, Miss Mali, Miss Nigeria, Miss Somalia and Miss Congo

On Saturday, the 15th of July, Africans in Boston had the pleasure of attending the Miss Africa New England Awareness beauty pageant, which was put together by Miss Africa New England-USA Org, and held at the Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The aim of the pageant being to unite young women of African descent, in order to empower them, and to unite members of the African Diasporan community to address issues they face. Additionally, the pageant will be used as a platform to organize community activities, events and service projects to support and assist the underprivileged Africa and in the New England area.

This year’s pageant was geared towards raising awareness of mental health, and the winner of the pageant, serves as the ambassador educating people on mental health, especially  in the African community. In addition to creating awareness, the winner of the pageant will be assisting the organization to implement basic health care benefits, infrastructure and education amenities and creating unity and networking opportunities within the African Diaspora community.

The eight beauty queens represented countries from Africa, which they trace their heritage to, and they participated in different segments, including a talent segment where the queens showcased some of their best work. The hall was abuzz with electrifying spoken word pieces and captivating performances as the ladies kept the audience enthralled with beauty, brains, and composure.

Miss Nigeria preparing for the talent section of the pageant

The judges critically considered each participant’s articulation, pride, demeanor and contribution to the community, as the criteria for the competition. This seemed to be an easy feat for the contestants who showcased the best of themselves on the stage before the bustling audience of about 300 attendees. Kayla Ezeama- Nigeria, Amanda Kuffoh- Ghana, Judith Lushike- Democratic Republic of Congo, Karelle Sylla- Cote d’Ivoire, Musu Yengbeh- Liberia, Sabrina Ali- Somalia, Prisci Mwanza Zambia and Korotoumou Dienta of Mali were the breathtaking contestants, displaying their national cultural richness.

At 4pm on Saturday afternoon, the doors opened with the red carpet event and the night was underway! The success of this pageant holds a lot of significance in the local Diasporan community because mental health is a crucial issue that affects many people. However, mental health is seldom addressed in African communities, so the topic is little understood as it is treated as taboo.

This year, Africans in Boston (AiB) was honored to be a part of the VIP invitees to the pageant. Impressed by MANE-USA’s important work in the community, especially where there is alignment with AiB’s own mission of empowering members of the African Diaspora through creating opportunities for beneficial networking.

Miss Ghana, doing her spoken word piece for the Talent Section

Miss Ghana Somalia presenting a piece on Mental Health stigma in the community

Miss Mali presenting a piece during the pageant

Miss Congo captivating the crowd with her presence

The night was marked with beautiful young ladies showcasing their intellect, their public speaking skills, issues that they are passionate about, and aspects of their culture.

First Runner Up (Miss Ghana), Second Runner Up (Miss Zambia) of the Miss Africa pageant with the 2017 Winner of the Pageant

At the end of the night, Miss Somalia, Sabrina Ali was crowned Miss Africa New England. Along with her crown, she received a modelling contract, and eligibility to compete in the Miss Africa USA contest. Becoming the ambassador in the community, she will raise awareness on mental health among the African Diaspora, helping to educate people and change notions that currently exist. The beliefs among the community now prevent people from seeking professional help they need because of the stigma that exists surrounding mental health, and people viewing them as evil or cursed. Sabrina Ali, the 2017 Miss Africa New England will be talking on early intervention, and treatment ad the importance of support groups to assist people who are struggling with poor mental health.

Jeff Siaw, AiB Executive Director with Miss Somalia, who won the pageant

Miss Africa New England 2017, with First runner Up, the MCs for the Night, Obayaa Ajeiwaa and MC Omo

Author:  Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager