Miss Black USA Pageant
The Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant is a national scholarship competition for young women of African descent that was founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington. It is a non-profit corporation in the state of Maryland, recognized under the 501(c)3 code of the Internal Revenue Service. In 2007, over eighty percent of the delegates were pursuing graduate or professional degrees. The winner that year was a first-year medical student at Meharry Medical College. Each year, a winner is selected to serve as "Miss Black USA" for one year and receives an academic scholarship.
The first titleholder was Tamiko Gibson, Miss Black USA 1987, representing Maryland. Other former titleholders include Ocielia Gibson (2011, Texas),Osas Ighodaro (2010, Connecticut), Shayna Rudd (2009, Pennsylvania), Kristen E. White (2008, Georgia), Kalilah Allen-Harris (2007, Tennessee), Celi Marie Dean (2005, Minnesota), Lisa Marie Miree (2001-2002, Ohio), Caroline Mack (South Carolina), Dawn Moss (1996, Maryland), Sheila Rugege-Dantzler (Louisiana), Deya Smith (1994, Connecticut), Ebony Warren (Florida), Clarissa Lester-Kenty (1990, South Carolina) and Elizabeth Waddell (Michigan).
Each year, state competitions are held across the nation including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas,Virginia and Washington. The Miss Black USA organization licenses the state pageants. Women from areas where a state pageant is not held may apply as a delegate-at-large.
Miss Black USA winners and contestants have gone on to successful careers in entertainment, law, education, medicine and other arenas. Some of the pageant's winners include:
- Selena Watkins (Miss Black USA 2012) Fitness specialist, Professional dancer; Model
- Ocielia Gibson (Miss Black USA 2011) Motivational speaker; Girls activist
- Osas Ighodaro (Miss Black USA 2010) Actress
- Shayna Rudd (Miss Black USA 2009) Author, Founder of LadyDiva Corporation
- Kristen E. White (Miss Black USA 2008) Model
- Kalilah Allen-Harris (Miss Black USA 2007) Actress
- Celi Marie Dean (Miss Black USA 2005-2006) Professional Speaker; Author
- Lisa Marie Miree (Miss Black USA 2001-2002)
- Kia Talein Anderson-DeJan (Miss Black Maryland 1994) — R&B/Gospel Recording Artist/Radio & TV Personality, Actress,
- Valorie Burton (Former Miss Black Texas USA) — Former co-host of Bishop TD Jake's Potter House; Life coach, Author
- Deya Smith (Miss Black USA 1994) — Senior Producer, Tom Joyner Morning Show
- Dr. Lynette Danley-Land (Miss Black Iowa USA 1995) — College professor, author and speaker
- Kemba Cofield (Miss Black Kentucky USA 1996) — Jazz recording artist
- Tamira A. Cole (Miss Black Kentucky USA 2009) — Editor-in-chief of Teens for Change magazine in Ghana; author