Triad Cultural Arts crowns Queen Juneteenth

Zuri Sweatt who is a junior at West Forsyth is crowned Queen Juneteenth on Friday June, 17.

Triad Cultural Arts crowns Queen Juneteenth
June 24
06:07 2022

After months of attending workshops and other events to prepare them for life after high school, last Friday, the 13 contestants vying for the title of Queen Juneteenth and a four-year scholarship to the HBCU of their choice, came together one more time to see who would walk away with the crown. 

While Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. has been hosting the local Juneteenth Celebration for over 30 years, this is the inaugural year for the Queen Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant. Cheryl Harry, founder and CEO of Triad Cultural Arts, said the idea for the pageant was brought to her by Dr. Stephanie Hurt, founder of the Royal Curtain Drama Guild. 

Harry said adding the pageant to the annual celebration is about growth and getting young people involved.“I think it was an evolution … We wanted to take it to another level,” said Harry while discussing the pageant. “There was a desire to get more young people involved in the Juneteenth Celebration … and we thought this was an excellent way to do it and we’re very glad to be a part of this.” 

Dr. Hurt said the pageant was created as a way to encourage and admirably spotlight young Black women in the local community. 

“It gives them a push to reach for their greatness and to believe they can achieve,” Hurt said. 

For entry into the pageant, the young women had to have a 2.5 GPA or higher, plan to attend a historically Black college or university (HBCU), have an interest in leadership, have a desire to serve in the community, and be of good character. 

As part of their pageant process, the young women will participate in community service, fundraising, and attend weekend workshops. The workshops focused on several different topics and themes including, social and emotional learning, planning for an HBCU experience, social justice, leadership and financial freedom, and etiquette and style. 

Contestants were judged on how they performed during the workshops and during the pageant, which was comprised of the Business Look Competition and the Evening Gown Competition. Contestants also had the opportunity to show off their acting skills during the pageant by participating in a theatrical performance that gave some background on the pageant. 

Before the winners were announced, Dr. Hurt said she enjoyed every moment she spent working with the Queen Juneteenth contestants. 

“This has been the most exhilarating experience of my natural life,” Hurt said. “I never would’ve imagined 10 years ago that theatre would journey into pageant life.” 

In the end it was Zuri Sweatt who was crowned Queen Juneteenth and awarded the four-year tuition scholarship. Sweatt, who is a junior at West Forsyth, is the daughter of James and Ulysesa Sweatt. Her top three HBCU choices are NC A&T, Howard and WSSU.

First runner-up was awarded to Kinley Copeland, a junior at Reagan High School; second runner-up was awarded to Kianna Andrews, a junior at Parkland High School; third runner-up was awarded to Teoni Ingram who attends Glenn High School; and fourth runner-up was awarded to Shaniyae Simmons who attends Carter G. Woodson. 

Other young women who made up the inaugural Queen Juneteenth Court are Leah Funchess, Destiny Vaughans, Cha’Nijah Carter, Cheyenne Brunson, Cameron Brock, Deja Whitehurst, Jacqueline Hauser, and Ja’Nayziah Marsh-Glyph. 

For more information on the Queen Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant visit


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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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