By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO

The inauguration of Maryland’s first African American governor was nothing short of spectacular. From the promenade of the state’s first family – Gov. Wes Moore, first lady Dawn Chante’ Flythe Moore, and children Mia and James Moore – from the pre-inauguration event to the podium, to his introduction by Oprah Winfrey. It was magical. 

We decided to take a look at all the festivities and compile a list of our BEST—from fashion to best moments and scene stealers. You may not agree but certainly can go online to Afro.com and voice your own opinions.  So here we go…

BEST DRESSED: DAWN MOORE

First lady Dawn Moore addresses the crowd gathered for the People’s Ball on Jan. 18 inside of the Baltimore Convention Center. (Photos by Stephen Hopkins)

This was an easy one with the first lady dazzling us in every outfit and gown she wore from the swearing-in ceremony to the inaugural balls. 

BEST SPEECH OF THE DAY: GOV. WES MOORE

The governor’s speech was filled with inspiration and hope.  The faces of the audience showed emotions as they held onto his every word.

Governor Wes Moore had his son, James, by his side every step of the way on Jan. 18, sharing laughs and soft moments during both the swearing in ceremony and the evening ball. (Photos by Stephen Hopkins)

BEST SINGLE INTRODUCTION: OPRAH WINFREY

When Oprah Winfrey came to the podium to introduce Gov. West Moore, she began with a loud voice: “Hello Maryland!” And an uproar of applause rippled through the crowd. The renowned television host reminisced with the crowd about her history in Baltimore, having come to our city as a news anchor on WJZ-TV at the age of 22, and seeing her name on numerous billboards asking the question, “What is an Oprah?”

“I did not know who I was, but I will tell you something: Maryland is where I figured it out.  I grew up here…I found community here at Bethel A.M.E. Church.” She continued, “With Wes Moore as your governor…Maryland’s best days are ahead of them…I trust him and you can too.”

BEST GUEST: DEVAL PATRICK 

Patrick was the 71st governor of Massachusetts (2007-2015) and the second Black governor in the United States. Doug Wilder, governor of Virginia from 1990-1994, was the first.

BEST LEAD PERFORMER AT THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY: JAMES MOORE

James Moore, the governor’s son, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance

BEST SCENE STEALER: MIA MOORE

The first daughter stole the show in her blue coat and matching bunny hat.

BEST INTRODUCTION BY A GROUP: MEENA, CHLOE, AND SASHA MILLER

The triple introduction of Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller – the first woman of color to be elected to that post – by her daughters.

BEST FAUX PAS: CHELSEA CLINTON

Oprah Winfrey was seated next to former President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton and noticed she had on a mismatched pair of Black heels.

BEST DESIGNERS/STYLISTS:  KEVIN SCOTT AND JODY DAVIS

The pair curated the outfits worn by the governor and first lady during the inauguration. 

Kevin Scott, the man responsible for Governor Wes Moore’s inauguration look, tends to his clothing on Jan. 18.
Jodi Davis makes sure the First Lady is prepared to make a statement on inauguration day, draped in a stunning ensemble that was created from scratch over a six-week period.

BEST SONGSTRESS (INAUGURATION CEREMONY): PARITJITA BASTOLA

The Severna Park student and “The Voice” alum gave a stunning rendition of the national anthem. 

BEST CHOIR: MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY CHOIR 

The world-renowned HBCU choir hit the right notes in its delivery of “God Bless America.”

BEST HISTORICAL MOMENT: TWO BIBLES USED DURING SWEARING IN

Governor Moore was sworn in with his wife, Dawn Moore beside him and with two Bibles, one that belonged to his grandfather and the other that was owned by abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

BEST NEW TITLE: SECOND GENTLEMAN DAVID MILLER

BEST COMEDIAN: CHRIS TUCKER

Another easy choice since he was the only one. Having Chris Tucker…no one else was necessary.

Chris Tucker, who was spotted earlier in the day at Moore’s swearing in ceremony, praised the great change that has come to Maryland at the People’s Ball. (Photos by Stephen Hopkins)

BEST DISH: MARYLAND CRABCAKES

As promised by the first lady, guests at the Inaugural Ball were served Maryland crab cakes. Thank you head Chef Gregory Pittman.

BEST GESTURES

There was a three-way tie: Governor Moore dancing onto the state at the People’s Ball with his son; the father and son’s fist bumps and private conversations; and the affectionate exchanges between the governor and first lady.

BEST SINGLE SONG PERFORMANCE AT THE BALL

This was a tough one…. I’m sure everyone will have their own personal favorites, so I declare a tie between Maxwell and Raheem DeVaughn.

BEST GROUP PERFORMANCE: DRU HILL

Hometown boys never disappoint.

Dru Hill Performing (Photo by Dana Peck)

BEST DEEJAY: DJ QUICKSILVA

BEST YOUTH SINGLE PERFORMANCE: PRIMA BALLERINA CAROLINE ROCHE BARNES

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE BY A GROUP: THE MORTON STREET DANCERS

BEST POLITICIANS PARTYING AT THE BALL: CONGRESSMAN KWEISI MFUME AND HIS WIFE, TIFFANY 

BEST GROUP DANCE: RHW BHANGRA DANCE GROU OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

The best runner-up in this category was the crowd at the Convention Center during the Electric Slide.

BEST COUPLES DANCE: THE GOVERNOR AND THE FIRST LADY

Gov. Wes Moore in his tuxedo and first lady Dawn Moore in her pink ball gown

BEST WORDS OF THE NIGHT: 

There were many, but we leave you with this one: “It’s our time, Maryland.”

THE BEST PRAYERS: 

The nearly 20,000 Marylanders who attended the historical events of the day.

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Related articles:

Governor Wes Moore takes office

Governor Wes Moore sworn into office as first Black man to lead Maryland

Inauguration Day arrives for Gov. Elect-Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Elect-Aruna Miller

Moore Miller Inauguration Ball Pictures

AFRO Exclusive: Baltimore designers curate inauguration look for Maryland Governor and First Lady Moore

AFRO Person of the Year Westley Moore discusses 100-day plan ahead of January inauguration as Maryland’s first Black governor

 

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