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Monday November 20th 2017

Taylor Thompson: Miss Black Oklahoma 2014

When Taylor Thompson lifts her voice, her words resonate with her audience regardless who she chooses to be at the moment.

She plays the part of a pageant queen and more than moonlights as a musician, but each role has its own name and shows another facet of her identity.

Thompson goes by Taylor Danielle when singing her soulful R&B tunes. And she is Miss Black Oklahoma 2014 when speaking to her community about matters of the heart.

She fell in love with singing as a high school student after performing in the Big Apple with her classmates. Her passion for music began intertwining with her interest in pageants about the same time—she brings more than talent when she takes to the stage. Thompson won the crown in the Dr. Valree Wynn Miss Black Cameron University Scholarship Pageant in 2008 after singing her rendition of “And I am Telling You,” the torch song from the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,”

Her voice shimmers with a bit of vibrato when covering “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé, and the acoustic arrangement showcases her singing ability in the best way possible: with her voice atop a haunting piano melody. Her repertoire transitions from a classical sound to a modern edge with a song of her own entitled “What You Do To Me.” She is as earnest as she is vulnerable when confessing her feelings, and the emotion she imbues in the otherwise schmaltzy ode transforms it into a standout track.

Her voice has a way with evoking the senses—her crystalline tone floats above her velvet-like timbre like the top note in a fragrance. There is just something so enchanting about the way she sings.

An Independent artist, Thompson has been collaborating with Lawton producer MacOnDaBeat to produce her debut EP. They got together in the studio in 2010, and they are refining the songs to their satisfaction before releasing them.

“We’re just kind of tweaking and working to making them perfect,” Thompson said. “I think we’re both perfectionists, so we want to make sure everything is good quality before we release it.”

Thompson became Miss Black Oklahoma USA 2014 back in September. Instead of vying for the title on stage, Thompson took part in a selection process over the phone. She sent in her head shot and a bio detailing her accomplishments before speaking with a staff member at the national office for the organization in Washington, D.C. she was able to ease into the interview and was happy with the talk went when hanging up the phone.

“At first, it was definitely nerve-wracking,” Thompson said. “You think of everything on the line: so something you have been working for so long kind of all hangs on that one phone conversation, and phone interviews can always be difficult because you’re not in front of that person.”

Becoming Miss Black USA Pageant, the winner of a pageant that promotes education and leadership by providing scholarships, has been a longtime goal of hers.

Competing in pageants has taught Thompson that confidence is key when making connections, and Thompson excels at making these connections beyond the spotlight as well.

“I started pageants in high school, and after my first pageant interview, job interviews were a piece of cake,” she said, “so I definitely think there are a lot of good points to competing in pageants other than just getting pretty.”

Thompson is promoting own platform through a series of speaking engagements that she hopes instills a positive image to minority girls — she wants them to believe in their own worth and ignore the barrage of stereotypes that they see around them.

“It’s definitely an honor, and it’s definitely something that I don’t take lightly,” she said. “I think especially as a minority woman, our minority little girls need someone like them to look up to, so we definitely stress the importance of staying in school and getting an education and being involved in extracurricular activities and how that can make you a well-rounded person.”

As the coordinator for the annual Miss Black CU Scholarship Pageant, Thompson schedules a presentation she calls it Black Girls Rock to empower and educate minority girls. It happens every January, and Taylor estimates that so far over 80 girls have taken part in the activity. And she wants to make more of an impact.

“It’s always a good event,” Thompson said, “but I am ready to take it to the next level and not only do that one event, but speak to schools as well.”

Because the national Miss Black USA Pageants has a national partnership with the Heart Truth Campaign, Thompson is working to show that keeping a healthy heart means keeping healthy habits.

“One of the things we do is representatives is speak about heart health and how important it is for woman to take advantage of their heart health and things that they can do to try to combat heart disease,” she said. “I think if we can start early, it’s probably the best measure to prevent it.”

Thompson is devoting her energy to the causes she believes in, and she hopes her conviction rings out in her voice.

“When you’re speaking, you have to really know what you’re talking about,” Thompson said. “You definitely have to be researched on the topic that you’re speaking about; you have to believe in what you’re speaking about.”

And while she feels most comfortable on stage as a singer, she never passes on the opportunity to share her thoughts and encourage others to care about their hearts and who they are.

“I’ll sing anywhere,” she said, “but I’ll speak, too.”

 

Photos by  https://www.facebook.com/MaiIgoPhotography