Miss St James takes 'Festival Queen' crown
TONI SHAE James of St. James was crowned 'Miss Jamaica Festival Queen' at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road, St. Andrew on Saturday night. In addition to the crown, James won for herself $50,000 in prize money.
'Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2003', Toni Shae James, is flanked by first runner-up, Kari Alana Morrison (left) and Janet Ann-Marie Ricketts, second runner-up. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
The 23-year-old James, a past student of the Montego Bay High School who is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Sociology, also copped the sectional prizes of 'Most Culturally Aware' and 'Best Gown'.
First runner-up was Kari Alana Morrison, Miss Kingston and St. Andrew.
For her efforts Morrison, a 22-year-old television producer, bagged $30,000 plus additional prizes. 'Miss Manchester', Janet Ann-Marie Ricketts, a 23-year-old clerical officer, finished third. For her worries, she won $20,000 plus other prizes.
The other parish queens, who were all winners in their own right, left with the memory of being part of what was or what could have been. There was not much dissent after the winner was announced, as was the case last year when several folks raised hell after Kaydeon Thomas was announced as the winner.
Sectional prizes for 'Best Performance' and 'Most Congenial' went to Julie Malcolm, 'Miss Clarendon' and Jerrine Pollack, 'Miss St Ann', respectively. The 'Best Performer' on the night, that is, by the judge's estimation, received a scholarship to the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts courtesy of Capital and Credit Merchant Bank.
The 25-year-old Malcolm delivered a wonderful talent piece entitled Uniquely Jamaican, where she assumed the role of a Ghanaian woman who dabbled in some witchcraft, calling on her late grandfather to send her to the shores of sweet, sweet Jamaica.
She had the audience slapping their knees, as she told her reasons for wanting to grace the ports of the land of wood and water, one of which was the prowess of the Jamaican man which had been spoken of abroad. "I heard that the okra and steam fish give Jamaican man special power...," she said, as she asked the females in the audience to validate the notion. She received hearty applause for her effervescent effort.
Another noteworthy talent piece came from Miss St. Catherine, 19-year-old Celestine Thomas, who came decked out as a 'madda 'oman'. Not any 'back ah bush' obeah worker, but one that was 'up to the time' and down to the last minute. She was armed with twice as much cellular phones on her hip and in her pockets than there are local cellular providers. The millennium madda 'oman told the audience that she does not offer the usual 'baths' in wash pans but now affords her clientele the luxury of bathing in a jacuzzi. The reigning queen gave a spirited performance entitled Young, Gifted and Black. She was aided by her little friend, the trumpet, on which she blew skilfully songs from yesteryear, such as Bam Bam and Don't Stay Away.
The segment that facilitated the showcasing of the gowns turned out to be comic relief for many in the audience. There were some good ones, but there were others that were nothing to write home about since some of the designers got a bit carried away.
Technically, the show was sound. The emcees for the afternoon, Dervan Malcolm and the lovely Thelma Porter, did an exquisite job in keeping the crowd on their feet and ensuring the smooth flow of the proceedings. A superb performance from Gem Myers, which was bolstered by offerings from Singing Melody and the Unique Vision Band, was the icing on an already delicious serving of entertainment cuisine.