Using Oklahoma pageant to inspire, black beauty queens hope to encourage girls

Six young black women are making history as the largest group of black women competing for the title of Miss Oklahoma and Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen.
Oklahoman Published: February 27, 2014

As Black History Month concludes, six young black women are paving the way for others like them to represent their communities and culture. These women represent the largest group of young black women to compete for the title of Miss Oklahoma and Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen.

The women are Jordan Smith, Miss Oklahoma City; BreYona Pettaway, Miss Langston University; Savannah Jackson, Miss Muskogee; Robin Whittaker, Miss Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa; Cortney Lofton, Miss Northern Oklahoma College Enid and Paula Smith, Miss Bricktown’s Outstanding Teen.

“We have this opportunity to show people a positive image of a minority woman,” said Jordan Smith. “We are just like every other college-bound person or college student, we have goals and aspirations to do something great, and we are starting that path by competing for scholarships through the Miss America Organization.”

Recently, Jordan and Paula Smith, who are sisters, spoke to 4th through 6th grade girls at North Highland Elementary School, whose student body is mostly black.

“I enjoy seeing children’s eyes light up when I tell can wear a crown just like me! But you have to start by doing well in school and helping people in your community,” Paula Smith said.

“It doesn’t matter what race you are, just follow your dreams,” Paula Smith said. She will go on to compete for the title of Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen on June 1. “Me and my sister, we started pageants just last year and we’re the only African Americans competing that are sisters.”

Some young black girls don’t have a successful role model to look up to and be inspired by. These women are hoping to bring hope, aspiration and inspiration to all children, regardless of color. But, they say, many children of minority groups aren’t told that they can do anything they want and given the tools to do so.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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