Real talk: I’m not a fan of beauty pageants.
I never really understood the significance of their existence and I’m always partial to the methods that are taken to decide upon an ultimate winner. Yet, this year’s Miss USA 2016 edition has drastically changed my mind.
Get this: the newly-crowned queen is a sistah!
Yep, you read that right! Last night, the Miss USA 2016 title was bestowed to Army Reserve officer/IT analyst Deshauna Barber who hails from our nation’s capital of Washington D.C. According to CNN, Deshauna is ‘the daughter of a retired Army master sergeant and was commissioned as a quartermaster officer in 2011. She serves as a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland’. The 26-year old stunner is also a Virginia State University alumna and a member of the sorority Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc. Her platform is heavily focused on the improvement of veteran affairs.
Once again, Instagram was the culprit that broke the historic news to me. I was scrolling down my Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavs-drenched timeline before stumbling upon the following photo:
And, I couldn’t believe it! Immediately, I took to Google to confirm the verdict and my joy overflowed. My heart literally jumped up and down while a prideful grin creeped across my face.
Deshauna is the representation of the modern African-American woman. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented and she’s educated. She is a warm reminder that there is hope for the upcoming generations! She is proof that the painful sacrifices, blood-ridden marches and constant fights were worth the battle. Deshauna is Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream personified. And, I adore the fact that there are young girls out there who can look up to her and strive towards (and beyond) her greatness. As the eighth black woman to hold the Miss USA title, it’s evident that she will continue to strengthen the legacy of past queens.
I feel like there has been so much turmoil within the African-American community that we have lost sight of what truly matters – and that’s progress. We have to continue to progress as a people because remaining stagnant can only cause more harm than good. Deshauna is the prime example of the type of role model youngsters need to fixate upon. In contrast to the Instagram models who flaunt their silicon-filled bodies for pointless likes, Ms. Barber is the strong and fearless Godiva goddess who upholds the spirit of our nation in one hand and the struggle of the black woman in the other. And, for that, I salute her.
With that, I thoroughly realize that there’s more to these pageants than just a sparkly crown and flawless smile.
What are your thoughts?