Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International® scholarship competition is a non-profit tax exempt TALENT CONTEST, not a beauty pageant, created for young women 13 to 17 years of age with performing talents, by legendary radio and television personality Hal Jackson, in response to parents' pleas to use his expertise and contacts to create a contest that would allow minority young women an opportunity to display their talents before the world, an opportunity denied them at the time.
The contest originally started as "MISS BLACK TEENAGE AMERICA" and took place in July, 1971, in Atlanta, Georgia, produced for international television syndication by Hal Jackson Productions, which then became one of the first black television production companies in the nation.
To accommodate the interest of other countries that wanted to participate, the contest was change to "Hal Jackson's TALENTED TEENS INTERNATIONAL® (HJTTI)" and has taken place in New York City, its home base, and has been held in such prestigious locations as, Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum, the World Famous Shubert's Theatre on Broadway, the Waldorf Astoria, the Apollo Theatre, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands in Association with their Department of Commerce, the world famous Coconut Grove in Hollywood, California, and Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies and the Crystal Palace Theatre in the Bahamas.
HJTTI has assisted in raising the academic achievements of young ladies and reduced dropout rates, pregnancy and drug abuse through boosting the inbred talents inner city youths possess. HJ TTI has been proven to help young ladies improve their communicative skills; assists in developing performing talents; builds self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and positive values which in turn improve their educational pursuits. HJ TTI's objectives are accomplished by providing scholarships to assist in their education and through comprehensive workshops and seminars conducted by professionals and role models.
1971 – The first contest was held under the title "Miss Black Teenage America", on July 28 in Atlanta, Georgia and was taped for television syndication. The winner was Miss Texas, June Kelly.
1972 – The site changed to New York City and the location of the contest was Madison Square Garden 's Felt Forum. Miss Texas won again, this time her name was Cynthia Lewis.
1973 – The title changed to "Miss U.S. Talented Teen Pageant & Revue" and Miss Edna Hill from Maryland was the winner. Dr. Hill is currently the lst Black plastic surgeon in the state of Maryland .
1974 – Talent, intellect, determination and the ability to perform under pressure, all qualities that characterize Miss Missouri, Denise DuMaine who won the crown at Town Hall in New York City .
1975 – Miss Georgia won the crown in New York City at Town Hall. Renee Crutcher tours and sings with Harry Belafonte.
1976 – Due to requests to extend its benefits to teens in other countries, the title was changed to "Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International. The 1st international finals took place in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, the winner was Miss N. Y., Karen McClellan.
1977 – TTI offers an educational experience and a unique opportunity for thousands of teenagers 13 to 16 years who have a performing talent. Melody Smith from New Jersey was the winner at the Longhorn Theatre in Hollywood, California .
1978 – Each year thousands of young ladies walk through the doors of TTI sponsors around the world. The winner's door opened for Miss Connecticut, Sheryl Piland and she was crowned by Michael Jackson at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles .
1979 – TTI helps to raise the academic achievements of young ladies by providing scholarships to assist in education. This year's scholarship recipient was Angela Pollack. Angela resided in New Jersey and was crowned at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles .
1980 – TTI assists young women by helping them express themselves with imagination and intelligence. Annette Jones expressed herself well and is currently a member of "101 North" signed with Capitol Records. Miss California won in L. A.
1981 – Returning from California to in share the 50th Anniversary of the Waldorf Astoria, TTI enters its second decade from the worlds' premier city, New York . Miss Kimberly Brooks from Baltimore, Maryland won the crown.
1982 – TTI gives ladies the opportunity of displaying their talents before a large audience, on a prestigious stage such as the John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. where Kristel Henderson, Miss U.S. Virgin Islands took the title.
1983 – TTI assists in building self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and positive values. Miss New York, Delise Jones possesses all of these qualities and is currently teaching in the New York school system. Miss Jones displayed her talents in California .
1984 – The contest was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica on an extraordinary summer evening under the stars. The winner resided in New Jersey ...her name Michelle Thomas.
1985 – Contests are conducted by civic-minded organizations and individuals. This year's winner is a ballet dancer who is currently dancing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Tai Jimenez "wowed" the judges at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles .
1986 – Prizes for the winners include scholarships, exposure to the music and film industries, and travel abroad which enhances cultural awareness. Oween Davis, an accomplished violinist took the crown on stage at the Apollo in New York City.
1987 – Cool breezes blew through the hair of the TTI contestants when they visited St. Croix, St. John and performed live in St. Thomas . The winning contestant was Tammy Townsend who hails from Carson, California .
1988 – The age of entering contestants was raised to 17. The TTI contest was held at the Arie Crown Theatre and Kiya Dawn Winston a gymnast from New Jersey stole the judges' hearts.
1989 – TTI was designed as an outlet for untapped talent as well as training in staging, choreography, poise, grace, and diction. Tamica Ellis, a young lady from Wisconsin possessed all of those qualities and won on the Apollo stage in Harlem, U.S.A.
1990 – For 20 years Mr. Jackson has taken on the tremendous task of providing a launching pad for hundreds of thousands of young ladies into the entertainment field. The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles was the stage, the winner ReNisha Rayford from Detroit .
1991 – The third decade of TTI was started with a triumphant return to the Apollo Theatre. Boyz II Men were on hand to help crown Myisha Richmond, 15 from Lawndale, Ca.
1992 – Zakiya Munnerlyn, a 15 year old singer from Hillside, N.J. won the judges approval at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City.
1993 – Rosa Sanchez, a 16 year old gymnast from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands won the crown in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. at the Reichhold Center for Performing Arts.
1994 – Amanda Stanley, a 17 year old tap dancer from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands won the Judges hearts and the crown in Washington, D.C. at the historic Lincoln Theater.
1995 – Ebony Mack, a 13 year old gospel singer from Irvington, NJ won the judges approval at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City.
1996 – A 16 year old Modern Dancer from New York City won the International crown on the renowned Apollo stage in NYC. Her name is Tiffany Walker.
1997 – Quianie Withey leaped her way to the top of the judges score cards when she won the crown in the Bahamas after a wonder week of sun, sand and surf. Quianie is a 16 year old gymnastic dancer.
1998 – A Shakespearean actress from New Jersey won the International Crown at the world famous Apollo Theatre. She is 16 year old Nikiya Mathis from Elizabeth, New Jersey .
1999 – A 15 year old opera singer from Trinidad & Tobogo won the International crown in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands . Her name is Renee Solomon.
2000 – The 30 th Anniversary of Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International was celebrated in New York City at Aaron Davis Hall. 15 year old Nicole Nicholas, the granddaughter of Fayard Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers fame and the grandniece of Dorothy Dandridge, tapped her way into the hearts of our judges and walked away with the International Crown.
2001 – Brian McKnight was the chairperson for our 31 st annual competition held in New York City where Della Hamby, a 16 year old gymnastic dancer won the judges' approval and walked away with the International Crown. Alicia Keys & Musiq were special guest performers.
2002 – Mario enchanted the young ladies at a luncheon for the 32 nd annual contest. Teena Lugo, a 17 year old actress from New Brunswick, NJ won the International crown at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
2003 – Tatiana McConnico sang her way into the hearts of our judges which included Cissy Houston in St. Thomas, USVI and won the International crown. Tatiana is 14 years old and from Douglasville, Georgia.
2004 – Sheryl Lee Ralph, a former HJTTI winner, was a judge when Nicola Dalrymple won the International crown by dancing, acting and singing in New York City . Nicola is from Tobago in the West Indies.
2005 – Tai Jimenez, 21:03 and Chuck Jackson performed at the 35 th annual HJTTI program held in St. Maarten when Esonica Veira won the International Crown by dancing to a medley of Michael Jackson songs. Esonica is 16 and from the St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.