Lisa Ruffin

Lisa Ruffin is a multi-talented award winning performer.  Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At age sixteen Lisa
was awarded a scholarship to The Juilliard School.

Ruffin has a wide range of work from film, television, commercials, music videos, theater and stage. The first video she choreographed, “JoAnna”, won an American Music Award. Her choreography credits include, “Moesha” starring Brandy, and “The Steve Harvey Show”. She also choreographed “The Artist Journey and Funk Blast” for Paul Allen’s $420 million dollar experience music project produced by Digital Domain. Lisa is the youngest African American woman to choreograph a Broadway Stage production, “Up Close and Personal” at the Lunt Fontaine Theatre. Among many other achievements, she has also performed on Broadway, and had 2 Billboard Top 20 R&B hit records. Lisa provided background vocals on numerous road tours. Her acting credits include, “Him and Us”, “Seth”, “The Raven”, and her very memorable role as “Deena” on the long running soap “All My Children”. Lisa has made appearances on The David Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live, and has graced the covers and interiors of respected magazines such as Essence, Ebony and Black Enterprise. She had numerous commercials, including her “Secret” commercial, directed by award winning director, Jessica Yu. Ruffin choreographed and performed with “Tina Turner” for HBO. Lisa has been a national judge & choreographer for the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition. Lisa directed and choreographed a company of “For Colored Girls”, and received glowing reviews for her choreography for “In the Continuum” at The Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara.

Ruffin conceptualized and created Little Miss African American, the largest scholarship pageant for young girls. This art educational program is proud to celebrate its 25th
year. Lisa’s hope for these young girls is to have the freedom to dream big, believing they can accomplish anything their little hearts desire.

Tara Covington
Virtual Administrator / Digital Program Book Designer

Tara has been a stable executive force with Little Miss African American for the past 25 years.  She has watched it blossom from its formative years to the national program that we see today.  In 2008, after 16+ years in education, Tara started her own consulting business working as a Virtual Executive Administrator assisting C-Level Executives in new start up entities. Tara sits on the board and serves as a Train the Trainer instructor for Delphinidae, a newly formed Internet based training company. In November of 2017, Tara spoke on the "Mindset of an Entrepreneur" as a featured presenter at the Central Valley Women's Economic Impact Center Symposium. That launched her on a new assignment with the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce where she now serves as the Program Coordinator/Facilitator of an entrepreneurial program for the center.

Looking forward, Tara's hope for the future of Little Miss African American is that the young women will pick up the torch and help propel it into the future so other young ladies coming behind them will be inspired to wear their CAP for a lifetime. It is also her endeavor to foster the entrepreneurial mindset so the next generation will know that there are limitless options available to and for them that just requires that they keep their eyes vigilant and their ears attentive listening for opportunities to become problem solvers to help others in need while generating the basis for generational wealth and stability.

Redelia Shaw
Production Coordinator

Redelia Shaw Redelia Shaw began working professionally in the entertainment field in 2000 as a Development and Production Executive for Point 7 Entertainment while
completing post-graduate work in Atlanta. She worked closely with the production and development teams to scout talent, pitch ideas to networks, and develop content and
was also responsible for supervising and coordinating the production of original programming in Los Angeles and Atlanta. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2005, she began working as a Talent Coordinator for various independent production companies. Currently, Redelia is a DGA 2nd Assistant Director and has worked on numerous commercial television and film projects, including: The Muppets, The Office, Heroes and Body of Proof. She was awarded a fellowship to Wexner Center of the Arts for her independent documentary "Journey to Africa."

Melva Young

Melva Young- Has been a part of LMAA since 1996. Her daughter Crystal was the Queen in 1997. Born in St. Louis, Mo she moved to Los Angeles area at an early age. She holds a Bachelor of Art in Finance. She has been working in Finance for over 30 years for large corporations as well as Non-profit companies.

As a single parent she is very proud of her only daughter Crystal, who just graduated from USC with her Masters in Social Work. She also loves to mentor young children to help them become successful young adult. In her spare time she loves to enjoy outdoor activities as well as bingo.

She lives by the motto : “Live, Love, & Laugh” Life is too short to be unhappy.

Paul Jones
Technical Advisor

Paul Jones has participated in Little Miss African American since its inception.  He has served as a Presenter, Dancer, Technical Advisor, and is currently Assistant to the Producer.  Paul has performed across the Country as a Krump Dancer and deejayed multiple parties and events.  Paul has been seen in many television and film projects as well as stage performances. Paul received  his BFA in Digital Film Production. An artistic soul, Paul enjoys shooting, and producing short films.  

Samantha Wheeler
Mentor / Group Leader

Samantha Wheeler is new to the Little Miss African American team. Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, she holds a B.A. in Economics from Drew University and an M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California. She is also an author, having contributed a chapter to the book Souls of My Young Sisters: Young Women Break Their Silence with Personal Stories That Will Change Your Life


 D'Shaun Booker

Mentor / Group Leader

D’Shaun A. Booker holds a M.A. in Fine Arts from California State University, Los Angeles and a B.F.A. in Theatre Education from Howard University.  Ms.  Booker’s professional experience work Includes over sixteen years of extensive experience in Theatre Arts: teaching, scripting, producing, and directing, special event planning and producing workshop facilitation and public speaking. Ms. Booker’s theatrical training began at The Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. She continued her training at John Casablancas Modeling School, and The Inner City Cultural Center and Sheila Manning’s Commercial Studio in Los Angeles. She has taught drama at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, All That Dance Academy of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and Serra High School in Gardena.

D'Shaun has appeared on the cable talk show
City Watch Live with Ted Terry and Jacquie Stephens, and KPFK talk radio’s Beneath The Surface with Judd Mc Gee where she spoke to “Educating our Youth” through innovative and culturally sensitive techniques. Ms. Booker created, produced and hosted The Teen Scene a talk show for teens for Media One Cable network and for KKBT’s 100.3 radio station Street Science with Dominique Du Prima. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Oasis Ministry Productions, a spiritually influenced production company and Arts Creating Unity Institute, Inc. a non-profit performing arts organization.  She is also the CEO of Maximizing Your Magnificence, an empowerment and life skills company. Ms. Booker has received several awards and recognitions.

Myisha Liu  Mentor / Group Leader
LMAA Queen (1998)
Myisha started working as a volunteer with LMAA this year. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  She went on to complete her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Syracuse University in New York.

Myisha is currently employed as a Speech-Language Pathologist with the Corona-Norco Unified School District, where her main goal is to help children improve communication skills.

Myisha has co-founded Matchstix Studios-Orange County’s Premier Wedding Videographic Studio. Myisha loves LMAA and is excited to be a part of it’s legacy.

Monique Love
Social Media Director
Monique Love — a former Little Miss African American contestant— is a budding entrepreneur in the entertainment space. Currently she is the Operations Manager for the Hollywood Black Film Festival, and a Social Media Manager for high-profile clients and startup small businesses.  

Straight out of Beverly Hills High School, Monique began a career as an entertainment journalist, writing for the entertainment industry trade publication, Black Talent News. She travelled all over the country interviewing A-list celebrities for their newest projects and movies, as well as covering award shows such as the Academy Awards and BET Awards.  Several years later, the publication closed its doors. Monique went on to work at the Hollywood Black Film Festival as a production coordinator.  Within 3 years she was promoted to Operations Manager, a job she currently holds.
Taheerah Jackson
Group Leader
Taheerah Jackson is new to the Little Miss African American Organization, as this is her first year participating as a group leader. She was born and raised in New Jersey. Taheerah holds a Family and Child Studies from Montclair State University, as well as a M.A. in School Leadership/Principalship.

Currently, she continues with her passion of aiding the needs of children by working as a Behavior Therapist for children with Autism.