El Dorado, Arkansas Beauty Contest Invader – Cynthia Scott

Cythia Scott Newspaper Article
Cythia Scott Newspaper Article

June 29, 2016 will mark the 47th anniversary of the first invasion of the Caucasian beauty standard. El Dorado, Arkansas was the place and Cynthia Scott was the sexy, saucy, offending black beauty. Cynthia challenged the status quo of American glamour simply by registering to compete in the annual Miss El Dorado Beauty Pageant. An unprecedented upset followed—Cynthia won the title 2nd Runner-Up! The triumph of a pretty, young, African-American woman in a small, rural, Southern town, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement was akin to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon July 20 (Cynthia Scott’s birthday!) of that year. It was one small step for the woman and one giant leap for womankind.

Cynthia said “I was just trying to make a difference, awakening consciences and opening hearts, by opening doors.” Try to read about her triumph in the public records of Arkansas’ newspaper and library archives—it has been deleted. The public can’t find any record of it online outside of Cynthia’s internet posts. But Providence has overruled: the proof via a scrapbook clipping from an elderly white woman, now deceased, has made its way back to Cynthia.

Cynthia Scott is still making a difference through her creativeness as a jazz singer, composer, playwright, actress, and educator. This former backup singer for Ray Charles penned and performs One Raelette’s Journey, an award-winning monodrama about her world travels and experience working with the musical legend. Austin Pendleton, the quintessential character actor and Drama Desk Award and OBIE Award winning director, said “(Cynthia) has a riveting story to tell… anybody that sees it will (never) forget.” The title of her latest single is Hold On Stay Strong; and her last CD, Dream For One Bright World, says it all. Cynthia addresses many contemporary issues, such as Alzheimer’s Disease in her song Did I Know You featured in the New York Times; http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/a-song-about-forgetting/?_r=0

Cynthia Scott will be in concert on June 19, 2016 (Father’s Day) at Riverbank Park in New York City. It’s a free concert open to the public that features Jeb Patton on piano, Ed Cherry on guitar, Paul Beaudry on bass and Dwayne Cook Broadnax on drums.


Follow Perri Gaffney:

Perri Gaffney adapted her novel, The Resurrection of Alice (J. California Cooper “I love this book!”), into an award winning play. She co-authored two texts with Mitch Weiss; Managing Artists in Pop Music and The Business of Broadway, has articles in Black Masks, African Eye, and The Charlotte Observer, and several poetry commissions.

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