By Stephanie R. Jones
Jasmine Murray, Miss Mississippi 2014, is continuing the platform she focused on during her reign. Speaking at New Hope Baptist Church’s third series of Black History Month programs Feb. 18, her message was designed to encourage girls and young women to think positively about themselves and to make good life choices.
The theme of the program was “Youth Heritage Night: Committed to Moving Forward.”
She told the audience honoring the past and people who came before us is necessary. “Without your past you wouldn’t be the person you are today,” Murray said.
“Even though I tell you to honor your past, don’t dwell on it either. Take advantage of the day you have right now. Focus on everything to prepare for your future,” the Columbus native said.
She said finding one’s gift is key. “God gave me a passion for music,” said Murray, who was the first Mississippian to become a finalist on the TV show “American Idol.” “Whatever your passion, it’s from God. We are put on this Earth to serve, our purpose is to serve,” she said.
She said participation in pageants was never about wearing nice dresses and crowns. “It’s about service. It was never about me. It was about what I could do for others.”
Murray is continuing the development of her music and her education at Mississippi State University through online studies. She has moved to Nashville and has recently signed on with the Christian label Fair Trade Services. She is co-writing music with producers and expects to release an EP in late summer or early fall.
Murray also was featured on soundtrack for “God’s Not Dead 2.”
And she still encourages girls not to grow up too soon with her pageant platform “13 Going on 30; A Kid in a 30-year-old Body.”
“I encourage girls to embrace their age, this time you have right now. Don’t rush it,” she said. “You have the time to pay bills, car insurance, etc.”
Murray finished her presentation singing “Beautiful.”
Before Murray’s talk, the program included a musical tribute by Vershaune Stamps and the Tougaloo College Women’s Chorale.
Black history moments were shared by Jazzlyn Loving, Lauryn Nelson and Cailyn Funchess who shared the podium with Murray. Megan Lewis did the welcome and Assata DeMyers introduced the speaker.
Thea Faulkner, one of the program organizers, presented Murray with the Passing the Torch Award and thanked her for using her platform to honor God.
Pastor Jerry Young said, “We cannot help but be thankful for this young lady. Only what you do for Christ will last.”
Last in New Hope’s series will be Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Family Life Center, 5202 Watkins Drive, titled “Treasuring the Life of Emmett Louis Till.” It will feature filmmaker Keith A. Beauchamp, whose documentary on the case “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” lead to a Justice Department reinvestigation of the case.
Flonzie Brown-Wright is the series co-ordinator.
Stephanie R. Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 454-0372.