CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Miss Black USA is the first and largest scholarship pageant for women of color.
“I believe that this is the only space where black beauty can really be celebrated in all sizes, shapes and colors,” said Tonillie Simone Watkins, Miss Black USA 2016. “Beauty pageants, although they have evolved so much, still have somewhat of a narrow view of what is considered beautiful.”
Since winning the title, Watkins has gone on to become Miss Planet Jamaica.
“The Miss black USA mission is to develop the whole woman mind, body and spirit and so I have carried what I’ve learned from that mission into my current title now,” Watkins said.
The pageant is the largest single source of scholarship funding for women of color, according to the Miss Black USA website.
“They’ve been able to award over $500,000 in scholarships so they’ve really helped support a lot of young women’s college education in pursuit of higher education,” Watkins said.
The 35th annual Miss Black USA pageant aired Sunday night.
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