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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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