Developed in 2008 by Sonja McCord, the Miss Black United States program exists to provide personal and professional opportunities for young women to promote their voices in culture, politics and the community. It provides a forum for today’s young women to express their perspectives, talents and triumphs to the community-at-large through Miss Black United States TV, The Official Miss Black United States Blog, the national telecast, and other local and national media outlets during her reign. Almost all contestants have either received, or are in the process of earning college or postgraduate degrees, and utilize Miss Black United States network to further their goals, both professionally and educationally.
The Miss Black United States Program was fully envisioned in 2008 in direct response to the successful election of the first black President Barack Obama. As President Obama embarked on his first year in the White House, our founder, Sonja McCord, was working tirelessly to create a pageant system that would serve as a social enterprise, and an enrichment program that would create a new generation of promising black leaders. A national queen was immediately selected to represent the first Miss Black United States to help steer the vision of the program. Several years later, the Miss Black United States Program was officially launched in 2012. Safiya Songhai was officially crowned in New York City as the first Miss Black United States.
The concept of Miss Black United States goes beyond the pageant itself. This is a program which seeks to provide social leadership, development, and enrichment through an institute of learning. We are creating leaders who are problem solvers, accomplished, and polished; moreover, we are providing measurable results on the state and national level. Every year, 51 young women are trained in advocacy, leadership, etiquette, professionalism, entrepreneurship, communications, fitness, and health. We are training leaders and providing them with the support to achieve their educational, professional, artistic, and community ambitions. The concept is simple: Empowering Others, While Empowering Ourselves™.
Furthermore, the Miss Black United States Program has adopted the national platform of tackling social, economic, and educational disparities faced by Black Americans—in particular, the disturbing rates and growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS and Heart Disease.
In 2013, we will inaugurate the first Miss Black United States pageant, culminating the conclusion of a rigorous enrichment program and celebrating the accomplishments of 51 innovative, experienced, and empowered leaders. At that time, we will tally up measurable results of the Miss Black United States Program; determining our impact across the United States and added value to the world.
We envision, the Miss Black United States Organization to become one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of educational, financial, and seed awards for young women. In the coming years, we will make a significant stride towards strengthening the black community and empowering our nation. Simply stated, tackling black issues and strengthening the black community will help reinvigorate America, overall.
The Miss Black United States Program exists not as a means to exclude non-African American citizens. We are a cultural organization created to solve America’s most pressing problems that directly impact the African American/Black population. We are reversing negative trends, celebrating black beauty, empowering young black leaders, and working to overcome social and economic disparities in the black community. We are training African American leaders who are impacting the lives of all cultures and all Americans.
Whereas beauty queens of the past may have spent their year of service signing autographs in local drug stores for one of the pageant’s sponsors, Miss Black United States is in great demand as a speaker before legislative bodies, civic and national service organizations and prestigious bodies of the nation’s news media. During this inaugural year, Miss Black United States state and local titleholders, along with the Organization’s network of volunteers, will participate in more than 8,000 community service projects, providing in excess of 350,000 service hours to worthy causes. As a result, each of our Miss Black United States Queens will become a powerful, visible and credible spokeswoman for issues ranging from HIV prevention programs to programs in support of improving the foster care system.
The Miss Black United States Program provides young women with a vehicle to further their personal and professional goals and instills a spirit of community service throughout the nation that will mark its legacy in America and the world.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
© 2008-2012 Miss Black United States Program [TM]| The Miss Black United States Program is not affiliated with any other pageant system. It is offered to women of African American lineage. We pay homage to the former leaders and trailblazers in black pageantry.