• Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

By Sharen Sierra King
Contributing Writer

RLH Pageants Unlimited LLC and Cincinnati Black Theatre Company announce the return of both the Miss Black Cincinnati and Miss Black Teen Cincinnati pageants. The event is a much-anticipated momentous celebration as each organization will celebrate milestone anniversaries, the 42nd anniversary for MBC and the 32nd for MBTC. Miss Black Cincinnati was founded in 1979 and Miss Black Teen Cincinnati in 1989. The anniversary pageants will be held simultaneously on Saturday, April 23, at 1 p.m.

RLH Pageants Unlimited LLC is recruiting Miss Black Cincinnati and Miss Black Teen Cincinnati contestants. There are four categories of competition: evening gown, talent, projection and personal interview.

Orientation for the pageant is Saturday, March 19. All contestants must register and receive an invitation to participate before orientation.

The founder and executive producer of RLH Pageants Unlimited is Robert L Humphries, a community leader and philanthropist. He, along with his wife, Jacqueline Humphries,  and a host of long-standing staff of volunteers, supporters, sponsors and contestants, have contributed to the lives of over 950 young African American women on their journey to success.

Former contestants from both pageants have formed the  RLH Pageants Unlimited Alumnae Association. The women, who  live locally and globally, assist the pageant to continue its legacy of empowering African American female youth ages 13 to 24.

Donald Sherman, executive director of Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, is the pageant co-executive producer.

The heart of the pageants is its contestants.

Arah Samuels, Miss Black Cincinnati 2018, had the highest scores in the talent, personal interview and projection question categories. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a degree in music, she was born in Erlanger, Kentucky, and while her family moved to Canton, Michigan, Arah returned to her roots to attend Northern Kentucky University as a music major. While attending NKU, she took on numerous roles and duties as Miss Black Cincinnati. She was an orientation leader, a resident assistant in University Housing, and a mentor and leader as a student organization leader. She now is on staff at Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy.

Arah Samuels, Miss Black Cincinnati 2019

Cincinnati native Jayla Bolt, Miss Black Teen Cincinnati 2019, made history while competing. At age of 13, she was the youngest contestant to win the teen crown and sash. She and her mother, Angela Grayson, are the only mother and daughter to hold titles.  Grayson was Miss Black Cincinnati 1995.

Bolt attends School for Creative and Performing Arts and is active in theater and drama. While competing, she displayed exemplary composure and grace, scoring the highest in the evening gown and talent competition. She has wowed the Tre-State community throughout her reign, by performing spoken word, bringing the audience to their feet with applause.

Bolt attends Inspirational Bible Church and has volunteered many years with its children’s church. She holds a job while preparing to attend college. Through media interviews, she shared her determination to become an equity actor.

Jayla Bolt, Miss Black Teen Cincinnati 2018

Both Samuels and Bolt will end their reigns on April 23, but not their crown of excellence. Each has been exemplary in fulfilling her duties and sharing her talents performing at various events throughout the tri-state area. Whether the event was reading to children, performing at one of the many luncheons or riding in the Black Family Reunion of Lincoln Heights Day parade, their respective crowns never slipped.

Each will hold a significant role in helping RLH Pageants alumnae to continue the ministry and mission of giving back to communities through mentorship and good deeds wherever their path may lead them.

Were you a pageant participant, a volunteer, a sponsor or a judge? There will be an RLH Pageants Unlimited appreciation reception Friday, April 22, for those who have contributed to the organization’s success. Call founder Robert Humphries at 513.368.8108 or Sharen King, RLH Pageants alumnae president and associate producer at 212.381.1777.