Philadelphia vocalist Destinee Maree is one of four finalists heading to Las Vegas to perform at Steve Harvey’s 10th Annual Hoodie Awards, taking place August 2–5 at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.
A Philadelphia native, Destinee Maree will perform at the State Farm Freedom Friday Party, competing against Scarlette W., of Camilla, Georgia; Ashley W., of Little Elm, Texas; and Siergio, of Atlanta for a $10,000 prize. The glitzy event, hosted by Sheryl Underwood of “The Talk,” will feature performances by Charlie Wilson, Anthony Hamilton, Lenny Williams and Cupid.
“This is a first for me. I can’t believe it!” said Destinee, who earned her way to the glamorous affair as a participant in the State Farm “Sing Your Way to the 2012 Ford Hoodie Awards” competition, held during “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” broadcast locally on WDAS-FM. Contestants across the country were required to sing live on the air, and listeners voted for their favorites.
Making the Vegas trip with Destinee will be her mother, Angel Scruggs, who actually surprised her talented daughter by entering her in the “Sing Your Way to the 2012 Ford Hoodie Awards” competition, submitting an MP3 of Destinee in the qualifying round.
“We are humble yet excited!” said Scruggs. “The icing on the cake is that the world heard Steve Harvey and the Morning Crew lose their minds with every note she hit. She killed Patti LaBelle’s ‘If Only You Knew!’” Destinee will give a repeat performance on the song at the final competition on Friday, Aug. 3.
While Destinee, who has never been to Las Vegas, is looking forward to the entire Hoodie experience, she is most excited about having her first close encounter with Steve Harvey.
“With all my heart, I want to see my family’s reaction to Steve Harvey’s reaction when he hears me sing,” she said. “We’ve been listening to his ‘Radio Star’ segment for years, and every time we hear him say, ‘I’m looking for a singer! Somebody who can sing! I want soul music!’ my mom has always said, ‘Well, if Steve hears you sing, he’s gonna love you!’ So now this will be confirmation of what she’s always believed.
“I mean, to get approval from somebody of his stature would be an honor,” Destinee continued. “Even when he heard me sing that morning, he said those nice things about me. That was an honor. So I’m looking forward to meeting him and singing for him, and having my family see me perform for him.”
The brainchild of comedian/media personality Steve Harvey and television/radio producer Rushion McDonald, the Hoodie Awards, which have grown steadily in popularity and profile since its inception in 2001, honor local businesses, religious and neighborhood leaders, churches and high schools for their contributions and excellence within their own neighborhoods. The award show, best described as “the Oscars with an urban flair,” features a diverse and “ultra talented” group of celebrities, actors, athletes and recording artists who present 12 non-traditional awards to the stars of our neighborhood.
The 12 categories are Best Church, Best Beauty Salon, Best Community Leader, Best Barbershop, Best School Teacher, Best High School Coach, Best Soul Food Place, Best High School, Best Car Wash/Detail Shop, Best BBQ Restaurant, Best Nail Salon and Best Church Choir.
As the talented and determined Destinee Maree prepares for her biggest gig thus far, she is grateful the support she has received, and said in conclusion, “Thank you so much! I’ve had nothing but warm wishes, and people saying very nice things to me. I can really feel the support. I’m not really a social network person with Facebook and Twitter - I’ve gotten a little warmed up to it in the last couple of months - but now when I look on Facebook and Twitter, I see so many people have such nice things to say about me. And people who, for so many years, we tried to catch their attention, now they’re calling us. We don’t have to chase them down, and you call and they answer the phone on the second ring instead of leaving messages for weeks. So I just appreciate anyone that paid attention to me, because for so long, no one did.”