This is a brief history on our pageant. In 1991 after attending the Miss Black America Pageant (the year Tasha Long won), I for the first time had a chance to see a National Pageant. I was so moved at the professionalism of the contest that I left that night so inspired.
Soon after, I mentioned the idea of producing a National Pageant to Niesha Dupree. She was immediately interested. She and I began preliminary stages of putting the pageant together. She suggested getting Kirk Wimbley involved to be Head Judge. I did not know much about him, but I put my trust in her judgement. Because of problems I was having selecting an honorary King, she suggested we bring in Devious Iman. I was against this idea, but she insisted and I have not regretted it. There is no one that I would have rather seen with that title.
One day I was contemplating changing the name so that non-minorities could enter, but Tamisha Iman advised me against it. Miss Iman stated that there was no other national pageant except Mr and Miss Black America for Black Gay Entertainers. I agreed, and I thank Tamisha Iman for helping me in making my decision to keep the pageant BLACK.
In 1992, Niesha Dupree, Kirk Wimbley, Tony Dixon, Henry Jarrett, Brandon Cooley and Jermaine Johnson worked with us for free. They were all as happy as I was just to be a part of somethig so special. That first year Joe Jackson and Racine Scott were the first to be crowned MBU. In 1993 Paris Frantz came to Atlanta to compete for Miss Black America and MBU hoping to just place in both. In the course of a weekend she made history winning both national black titles. Her "King Archie Bone't" turned out to be one of the best things to happen to MBU. After relinquishing his title he joined the MBU Board of Directors as Preliminary Coordinator.
In 1995 we welcomed into our family Spanky Dupree Hawkins of Chicago, Illinois and Jaqulyn DeVaroe of Norman, Oklahoma.
In 1996 Archie Bonèt became co-owner of the National Pageant, where he is still at the helm to this day. In 1994, Calvin St. Claire and Tasha Long joined MBU. While Tasha Long was reigning as Miss Black Unieverse at the time, she captured the title of Miss Gay National and on the night she won Miss Gay National, I began to understand that there was something spectacular about Tasha Long.
1996 was a big year for MBU. Ron Lewis became co-owner of the national pageant. He brought in our very own MC Sophia McIntosh. Tim Bolhar and Sasha Valentino were crowned that year as well.
In 1997 R'Darius Black and Stasha Sanchez were crowned. To this day Stasha Sanchez is the only MBU King or Queen to be crowned in a chair.
1998 was the year that Monte St. James and Raquell Lord were crowned. I remember the first time seeing Raquell Lord entertain. I thought she was the best I had seen, and all these years later she still is...
In 1999 after being a preliminary owner, Craig Shaw became co-owner of the national pageant. Also that year D'Andre and Necole were crowned.
The year of the Millennium we welcomed Ronnie Davis and Tamisha Iman. Finally after five tries, two as first runner-up, Tamisha Iman's win will always be something very special to me
2001 ushered in Tre' Reese (after five tries, three of them as first runner-up) and Jasmine Bone't.
In 2003 Sasha Valentino was added to MBU Board of Directors. Next came Al Milan Dupree (after competing six times) and Chanel Necole of Houston, Texas, upon completion of their reign, and I was convinced that it couldn't get any better...until a little lady from Jacksonville came along. The Lady Marissa won with Christopher Iman.
2004 gave us two Floridians: Neaundre Bone't Dupree of Orlando and Azsia of Jacksonville.
2005 we welcomed with open arms the seven time competing Antwuan Steele and Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington. Miss Sherrington became the third consecutive Queen to win while residing in Jacksonville, Florida.
2006 showed us that there was something about the number seven and the state of Florida. Terrell Luv Dupree was crowned on his seventh time and Antwanette Chanel Roberts was the fourth queen to win in a row from the Sunshine State. Over th
Over the years we have added so many to our family: Mario Young, Dominque Rashad, Al Hill, Marcus Dupree, Fentress Buford, Dee Dee LaBelle, Tony Curtis, Randall Smith, Mickey Steward and so many others who I am proud of my MBU Kings and Queens. Together they have won every National title possible to win. They all continue to reach for their goals. When in their presence I always feel as if though I am amongst royalty.
They have all represented MBU with such Grace, Class, Respect, Loyalty and Dignity. Their contributiions to this contest are absolutely priceless. Without any of them, MBU wouldn't be able to shine so brightly. Thanks to all the MBU Promoters, Contestans and Patrons over the years. You have kept MBU in existence.
RANDY MATTHEWS — Founder of MBU Pageantry Systems
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