“The next Miss Black U.S.A. is…”
These are the words Temple senior and business law major Kimberly Whittaker looks forward to hearing in this year’s summer pageant in Washington, D.C.
After winning the Miss Black Pennsylvania title, Whittaker filled out an application, attached her picture, had an over the phone interview and was selected as a contestant for the Miss Black U.S.A. pageant.
“It’s been mind boggling,” Whittaker said. “There’s been so much. I’ve been in a movie, walked the red carpet for the Fat Albert premiere, and hung out with the Eagles. Wow, I can’t even express it, it’s been so fun.”
The Miss Black U.S.A. Pageant and Scholarship Foundation holds an annual competition that provides scholarship opportunities for state delegates to pursue and achieve their educational, career and personal goals. The organization develops women who are strong, empowered, and educated and who serve as positive role models to other women of color.
“I want to be the first African-American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Whittaker said. “I was looking for a way to get my name out. I don’t know why this is, but a lot of people don’t listen to you if don’t have a title, if you’re a ‘nobody.’ Once you have the title, then they’re willing to listen to you. One must have some initiative to get heard, but I’m not looking for fame or fortune.”
Whittaker established an organization called Be Properly Informed in her West Philadelphia community that informs young adults about the risks of sex and prepares them for things they should be aware of if they do not choose abstinence.
“Some kids can’t get this information from their parents, because their parents may not be around to tell them, and it’s not their fault,” Whittaker said. “They have to work two and three jobs just to support their kids. It’s kind of like Wrap It Up [a television show on Black Entertainment Television]. I started it about a year ago.”
There are many differences between the Miss Black U.S.A. pageant and the customary Miss U.S.A. Pageant. One such difference is the absence of the swimsuit portion of the pageant. Instead, Miss Black U.S.A. has a fitness segment where the contestants wear fitness outfits.
“It’s better than the American pageant,” Whittaker said. “You don’t have to be a stick figure. It has beauty, brains, and fitness. It’s more realistic.”
Whitaker still finds time to be a student in between auditions, interviews and events such as dance performances. Whittaker also participates in the Jones New York Fashion Show, as well as many other fashion shows, does Cingular Wireless promotions and has won numerous titles such as “Best Runway Model in Pennsylvania.” She is also an athlete and a role model to the youth in her community.
The scholarship awarded to the winner of the pageant will help her further her education and attend law school. Whittaker has some advice for females who would like to follow in her footsteps and enter pageants similar to this.
“There is no one that can stop you from dreaming, but yourself. Dreams are made to come true, so never give up,” Whittaker said.
Kenyatta Joseph can be reached at email@example.com.