(creds: DeAndre Watkins)

The reigning Miss Black CA USA Autumn Rae and Miss Black CA USA Talented Teen Nasreen El-Shabazz are coming together to use their pageant platform to bring awareness and resolution to depression, suicide, and mental health as they represent the state of California this year at the national Miss Black USA and Miss Black USA Talented Teen.

The pageant will be held in Washington D.C. on Sunday, August 7th, and will broadcast live on Fox Soul.

Pageants are often perceived as a showcase of vanity and shallowness. This pageant is intended to empower women to own their power and celebrate their unique traits, talents, and beauty. Many psychological experts have found that they can lead to a whole host of mental issues amongst participants. However, they are an amazing tool for promoting personal excellence, for becoming “the best version of yourself.”

Autumn Rae is no stranger to adversities. A charismatic woman, Rae is an independent songwriter who is delighted to share her artistry with the world. She follows in the footsteps of her grandfather, Sonny Turner, lead member of The Platters, and grandmother, Leuvenia Eaton, leading lady of The Metrotones and writer of their song “Skitter Skatter.”

(courtesy of Miss Black USA)

Autumn Rae has worked at Progression Ministries as a worship leader and Sunday School teacher from the age of 13 to 23, under the direction of Apostle Marion Johnson. She helps at Progression to “Take It To The Streets,” which entails making meals for the homeless throughout Lancaster, California.

Nasreen El-Shabazz is the youngest of ten siblings and maintains a 3.8-4.0 GPA. A bright, ambitious young lady with pageant experience, she competed her first pageant, Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant (LMAA), at the age of six.

At the age of twelve, Nasreen was awarded the LMAA crown for her dedication to the organization purpose. Following that, she appeared on the Rupaul show with 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, Miss Teen USA Nia Kaliegh Garris, and Miss America Nia Franklin. She’s also been on the OWN TV show “Homemade Simply” with Laila Ali and spoke for the Los Angeles Mayor’s office during Black History Month.

(courtesy of Miss Black USA)

Autumn and Nasreen have each set up their own GoFundMe page in preparation for the national competition as a way to gather funds for their outfits, travel, training, and other expenses. Lu Sierra, a talented former supermodel and the world’s leading runway expert in the modeling industry, and many major pageant systems such as Miss America, America’s Ideal Miss, Volunteer America, and Miss USA/Miss Universe, are some of many sponsors preparing Autum and Nasreen for the National Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant in 2022.

The Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant, a non-profit corporation headquartered in the state of Maryland, is a national scholarship competition for young women of African descent that was founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington. The organization is the first and largest scholarship pageant for women of color, awarding over $500,000 in scholarships.

For more information about Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant visit https://www.missblackusa.org. Information about, both, Nasreen and Autumn’s gofundme can be found here.