Where Are They Now? : The HBCU Edition

HBCU Queens have long been a part of the HBCU tradition. Possessing poise, scholarship, and leadership these young women represent their institutions with distinction. For this week’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up we catch up with 10 former HBCU queens and see where they landed after their reigns ended.

A.J.-Johnson1.) A.J. Johnson – Miss Maroon & White (Morehouse College) 1984-1985

Adrienne-Joi Johnson, sometimes credited as A.J. Johnson, is an American actress, choreographer and fitness coach. Acting since 1988, Johnson has made many guest appearances on sitcoms, television dramas and music videos; she also has numerous supporting roles in films, including House Party and Baby Boy. In addition to being an actress and dancer, Johnson is also a wellness coach to celebrities and was the host of the VH1 reality fitness competition From Flab to Fab and has made numerous fitness/healthy living television and magazine appearances. Johnson has been the spokesperson for American Cancer Society (having lost her mother to cancer at age 17), weight loss products and has made appearances for Procter & Gamble, GSK Pharmaceuticals and Wal Mart. Johnson graduated with honors in 1985 from Spelman College, the all-female college in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a past Miss Maroon & White and the first Miss Collegiate Black America.

anisah reed2.) Anisah Rasheed – Miss North Carolina A &T 2005-2006

Anisah Rasheed served as Miss North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 2005-2006. She received her BS in Marketing from NC A&T in 2007 and an MBA from the University of Maryland in 2011. Anisah is the co-founder of Queen to Queen, Inc. The mission of Queen to Queen is to create opportunities for personal and professional development, and social networking among current and former queens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Anisah is no stranger to business/organization management and working with youth. At the age of nine she became an entrepreneur by starting a very lucrative clown entertainment business. In 1999, she was named “Kidpreneur of the Year” by Black Enterprise magazine. She has received several awards and honors and has been featured in Black Enterprise, Working Woman, Essence magazine and Essence Book, “50 of the Most Inspiring African Americans.”Anisah Rasheed was the first Muslim selected as campus queen by the 11,000-student school.

Kimberly brown3.) Dr. Kimberly Brown – Miss Florida A&M University 2005-2006

Kimberly Brown is an assistant professor of history at Alabama State University. Researching 20th century African American women and the politics of beauty, she earned a doctoral degree in U. S. history at Howard University. She has worked in Washington D.C. as a Goldman Sachs Multicultural Fellow at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History and as an interpretive specialist for the National Park Service. She earned a B.S. in Public Relations and a Master’s of Applied Social Science in history from Florida A&M University. Brown has received numerous honors, including being inducted into Phi Alpha Theta National History Society. Her award-winning publication, “In the Eye of the Beholder: Definitions of Beauty in Popular Black Magazines 1940-1975,” appears in the 2014 Palgrave-Macmillan release, Soul Thieves: White America’s Appropriation of African American Culture. She is a former Miss Black Alabama and current advisor to the Miss Black USA pageant organization

Imani Bazzell4.) Imani Karen Bazell – Miss Fisk University 1980-81

As the Director of Root Causes, Imani Bazzell has worked as a community educator and organizer in the areas of racial justice, gender justice, healthcare access, educational reform, and leadership development over 30 years. She is the founder and director of SisterNet, a network of African American women committed to the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health of Black women. Her racial justice and multicultural education workshop series have been widely used by K-12 and early childhood educators, as well as parent and church groups. Internationally, Imani has consulted with non-governmental organizations to improve strategic planning, communication, and constituency development in their democracy-building efforts. Currently she produces and hosts ACCESS Live, the public engagement radio show of the ACCESS Initiative dedicated to ending stigma and increasing community awareness and engagement with mental health providers and multiple systems that indicate racial disproportionality and disparity with negative outcomes for African American youth and their families; including public education, child welfare, health and criminal justice. Imani is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, TN and has lived in Champaign-Urbana for 24 years.

Charlotte holloman5.) Charlotte Wesley Holloman – Miss Howard Homecoming 1940-1941

Charlotte Wesley Holloman was born on March 24, 1922 in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Holloman was awarded two titles while in college; Homecoming Queen and Miss Collegiate America. She graduated cum laude from Howard University with a Bachelor of Music. In November of 1950, she appeared in her first Broadway role at the Broadhurst Theater in the Langston Hughes-Jan Meyerowitz musical drama The Barrier which was based on Mulatto. She has also worked closely with Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, and Flournoy Miller in their revival of the musical comedy Shuffle Along in May of 1952. She appeared in Charles Friedman’s musical play My Darlin’ Aida at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City from October of 1952 through January of 1953. The lyric soprano had her first official voice debut at her Town Hall recital in New York City on February 25, 1954, which received favorable reviews from the New York Times. In October of 1955, she landed a television appearance as a singer in Harry Belafonte’s vocal chorus. She once worked in Harlem singing background vocals for James Brown. Holloman was the featured soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and at The Berkshire Music Festival. She was a cast member in the road company of Carmen Jones and currently resides in Washington, D.C. and is the Coordinator of Vocal Area and a Lecturer of voice in the Department of Music at Howard University. Holloman maintains a full private voice studio from her home. Her teaching career has spanned over twenty-five years and remains a gifted pianist and has produced outstanding students.

alicia reece6.) Alicia Reece – Miss Grambling State University 1992-1993

On March 6, 2010, Alicia Reece was appointed as the Ohio General Assembly to represent Cincinnati’s 33rd House District, affectionately known as the “Fighting 33rd.” State Representative Reece was elected to the seat in November 2010 and serves on the Finance & Appropriations Committee, is the Ranking Democratic member on the Transportation sub-committee of Finance, and is a member of both the Small Business & Economic Development and Local Government Committees. As a businesswoman, was selected as one of the Cincinnati Business Courier newspaper’s “Forty Under 40″Business Leaders in 2000. Reece was the founder of the National Student Leadership Convention, Stop The Violence Conference, and co-founded the Communiplex African American Business, Consumer, & Get Out the Vote Week. She has been a consultant for the Urban League of Cincinnati and WCIN radio where she produced the number one daily African American live radio talk show. Reece has also produced and co-hosted her own live radio show called “On the Real Side”. She has also served as Vice Mayor of Cincinnatti.

cynthia w. rosenberry7.) Cynthia Wilcox Rosenberry –  Miss Wilberforce University 1985

Cynthia W. Roseberry currently serves as Project Manager for Clemency Project 2014. Clemency Project 2014 is a partnership among the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, the American Bar Association, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and the Federal Community and Public Defenders created in response to Deputy Attorney General James Cole’s request to the legal profession to provide pro bono assistance for clemency to federal prisoners who would likely receive a shorter sentence if they were sentenced today.  Prior to joining Clemency Project 2014, Cynthia served as Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia, Inc. For more than ten years she practiced federal and state criminal defense in Georgia, then Cynthia founded the Misdemeanor Clinic, and taught Advanced Criminal Procedure and co-taught in the Death Penalty Clinic at DePaul University College of Law in Illinois. Cynthia earned her B.S. from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce Ohio and her J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. Cynthia is a founding board member of the Georgia Innocence Project and a past president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

sabrina richardson8.) Sabrina Richardson – Miss University of Maryland Eastern Shore 2003-2004

Attorney Sabrina C. Richardson is the principal of The Law Office of Sabrina C. Richardson. She is a passionate litigator, motivated by her desire to help people solve their legal problems. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law. Richardson focuses her practice on criminal & traffic defense, immigration law, personal injury, and wills, trusts & estate planning.

Desiree williams9.) Desiree Williams – Miss Hampton University 2010-2011

Desiree Williams earned her undergraduate degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Hampton in 2011, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Hampton University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. She served as Miss Hampton University 2010-2011. Her other pageantry wins include Miss National Sweetheart, Miss Peninsula, Miss Arlington, and Miss Virginia Beach. Williams was only the fourth African-American to serve as Miss Virginia, which she served from 2013-2014. Desiree is also the co-author of the book, Love Affair with My Hair: Why Black Women Cheat on Health.

Scharita Lacey10.) Scharita Barry Lacey – Miss Central State University 2002-2003

Scharita Lacey is the Founder, Visionary, and CEO of Scharita Lacey Empowerment (S.L.E.) Scharita is a sought after motivational speaker, life coach, minister/evangelist, and mentor to many. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Management) from the Central State University and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She holds Ministerial Credentials with Pneuma Life Network of Churches and several Professional & Leadership Certifications. Scharita is a member of Greater Grace Temple Church in Springfield, Ohio where she serves as an Associate Minister. Scharita also serves in the “Heart of God” Women’s Ministry at her church as one of the Government of Twelve – G12 Leaders on the Women’s Board and as a Life Group Leader to the women.

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