Laila Ali hosts Little Miss African American Pageant

BEVERLY HILLS, CA– It was a hot one outside as well as inside at H.O.M.E 90210 (House Of Music and Entertainment) in Beverly Hills, California. However, that didn’t stop the 39 contestants of the 22nd Annual Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant from putting on a great show and — at the end, crowning a new queen.

Former champion boxer, TV personality and lifestyle guru, Laila Ali, who looked stunning in all white, hosted the evening. Ms. Ali has been an active supporter of the pageant for many years.

The honorees of the 2015 Little Miss African American Pageant.

This year’s celebrity judges and special guests in attendance for the evening were: James Pickens Jr.
(Actor), Shanice Wilson (Actress – Recording Artist), Ella Joyce (Actress), Von Gretchen Shepard (Print & Runway Model), Saundra McClain (Director-Actress), Maryum “May May” Ali (Youth Activist), Debra Wilson (Actress), Ron Brewington (National VP & Member of the Board of Directors for Motown Association), T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Actress), Dr. Susan Evans (Cosmetic Dermatologist), Brett Stimely (Actor, Producer, Writer & Emmy Host), Jade Brandais (Technology Innovator), Jerome “Ro” Brooks (Actor), Cocoa Brown (Actress-Comedian), Raymond Luke (Motown on Broadway) Kevin Craig West (Actor) Dr. K. Andrews (Human Renewal Institute) Auti Angel (Actress-Dancer), Petri Hawkins Byrd (Judge Judy), who also served as announcer; Patrice Covington (Actress-Recording Artist) and actor-producer Mailon Rivera, who presented UA360’s“Alchemist Award” to LMAA Founder, Ms.Lisa Ruffin for outstanding community service on behalf of the LMAA Family.

The founder of the Little Miss African American Pageant, Lisa Ruffin.
The founder of the Little Miss African American Pageant, Lisa Ruffin.

Sponsors of the event included Urban Alchemy 360º, The James Pickens Jr. Foundation, Sermoonjoy Entertainment, and Woman 2 Woman Talk Radio. Miss Mariah Hall, 11yrs old from Arizona who was named 2015 Little Miss African American Queen. It was her fourth time competing in the pageant before taking home the crown. The 1st runner-up went to Miss Krista Campbell. The 2nd runner-up was Miss Nasreen El-Shabazz and 3rd runner-up went to Miss Krista Simpson.

The night was filled with amazing performances and talent acts including The Divine Praise Dancers who kicked things off with an energetic praise dance. There were many awards and acknowledgements given throughout the night most poignant of which, was the return of past winners as adults sharing their experience and growth since their involvement as children.

The educational program of LMAA is dedicated to empowering young ladies between the ages of 6-12 with their “CAP” an acronym for “Confidence, Awareness and Pride” to prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow. LMAA uses a pageant format to provide girls with an early introduction to the arts and a heightened cultural understanding, as well as training in Public Speaking, Etiquette Classes, Scientific Experiments, while discovering the future of technology. They are taught production numbers by award-winning choreographers, while promoting individual creativity.

The complete list of award winners were as follows:

Josephine Baker Performance Award: Krista Campbell (10)
Director’s Award: Krista Campbell (10), Jayde Grant (9), Brooklynn Robinson (9)
Producer’s Award: Krista Campbell (10, Amira Poland (6), Kristyn Simpson (11) and
Jayde Grant (9)
Historian Award: Trinity Parrish (8), Chloe Toussant (6)
Community Service Award: Nirena Haynes (10), Nasreen El Shabazz (8), Jayde Grant
(9), Kristyn Simpson (11), Trinity Parrish (8), Krista Campbell (10)
CAP Award: Jaliyah Tousant (8), Zoe Abdul Malik (7), Morgan Omordia (8), and Priya
Ewing (8)
Golden Heart Award: Trinity Parrish (8)
Academic Excellence Award: Jaslynn Tousant (6), Nasreen El Shabazz (8). The Symfonee Ryoko Davis Award- (Honoring the very 1st Little Miss African American- who attended the 32nd street school- and has passed away) was presented to Miss Amira Poland (6)

Lisa Ruffin founded Little Miss African American 22 years ago and it has been an exploding platform of success for LMAA alumni ever since. “Miss Lisa’s” girls have gone on to become lawyers, surgeons, designers, actors, and other successful women in society. To submit an application to be a pageant contestant for next year, and to learn more about Little Miss African American, please visit them on the web at

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