*To be able to celebrate your blackness out loud, without feeling the need to conform, justify, downplay or apologize, is a beautiful thing. And contestants in the Miss Black USA Pageant fully embody that spirit.
“Any time you are considered a subculture, it’s important to have your own reward system. If you try to assimilate, you will always be looking for validation from the majority group. That can do damage to your psyche,” says Karen Arrington, who founded the Miss Black USA Pageant. “Miss Black USA contestants celebrate their own unique traits and differences…don’t have to conform to European standards. They define their own standards of beauty, which come in various shades and sizes.”
“Redefining Black Women,” was the theme of this years’ pageant; held on Aug. 10 at the University of the District of Columbia’s Arts Theatre and the finalists affirmed Arrington’s assessment. This years’ winner of the Miss Black USA 2014 crown is Jasmine Mone’ Alexander, 25, who entered the pageant as Miss Black Colorado USA. Alexander epitomizes a black woman’s beauty, brains, and character; attributes that are far removed from stereotyped images of African-American women.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and master’s degree in human services/executive leadership from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. “One of the first endeavors I will undertake as Miss Black USA 2014 will be promoting the Heart Truth Campaign – which teaches women about heart disease and how to prevent it. One in four women dies from heart disease so I really want to push healthy eating and healthy lifestyles among young girls,” says Alexander.
“Additionally, I want to bring more attention to the efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. There are so many missing children and those who are victims of molestation and trafficking. These issues are dear to the Miss Black USA organization, so I will be working to bring awareness to them,” she adds.
Read more about comments from Amanda McCoy, Miss Black USA 2013, and Miss Black USA Junior Teen 2014 here.