“First Miss Black France. Oh, free world!”

 

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Photo: Marc Richez. Courtesy of Tropics Magazine

 

 

As a pure Black Woman and a very proud one, I remember in my high school days in Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), the History teacher used to give us some background information about Black history in the ’60s, when West Indian Black Nationalists organized the first real BLACK beauty contest in America and the Queen chosen was a very Black-skinned, I mean a Dark-skinned young lady, full of African features, very hippy beauty with all the other contestants representing all the shades of Black Beauty and shape!

 

Why did this happen, back then?

 

If you're still wondering, well, that was the simple answer to white standards of beauty contests which excluded so many other beautiful young ladies, and not only Black ones! Have times changed? You answer on this one!

 

Does this mean we're racist people? I don't think so, no!!! The very same thing repeats itself all over again, every year and no one does anything about it, right? Until Miss Black France came, right?

 

Well, in this century, Black people, everywhere, are obliged to reject some certain standards and replace them with a BLACK standard of beauty! I think it is only fair for oneself to celebrate its own. It is also fair for these young African or black models trying to find a way in this world. Why should they be denied access to stardom when their time comes? Why should historians or philosophers stand out now because the word 'BLACK' disturbs them? Where were they when Miss France was only choosing white contestants many years ago? Was it also a racial issue ruling this world, back then? I think I need some answers on this one, and whoever who would like to reply on this one, may have his say.

 

So, as I am about to close this parenthesis, yesterday was a great day for the Black community living in France. At least for some of them. ..

 

Last night, for the very first time in history, a 21-year-old young student in Strategic Marketing (Masters), has been crowned and awarded the title of Miss Black France.

 

Speaking of her win, Mbathio Beye seemed surprised that she was actually crowned Miss Black France, despite the fact that, before the big night, some intellectual people have refuted the idea of hosting such a competition which disqualifies white models to compete, which leads to a very racial type of contest whereby only black models have a say.

 

Being black and becoming the first black woman to hold the beauty title meant a lot for Mbathio Beye and her fellow competitors, since she hopes other girls of her age will find in her example the motivation to pursue her dreams no matter the race. In this sense, her winning was a victory, the beauty queen explained after she was crowned Miss Black France.

 

According to some specialists, beauty contests are sending out the wrong message to young girls and society as a whole, namely that it’s OK for them to be treated like objects. “This is not progress. Fundamentally this beauty contest has no place in 2012.” other concluded.

 

In my quality of a Redactor-in-Chief of Tropics Magazine, I would like to officially congratulate the Miss Black France Committee for the incredible work they have accomplished in putting together this contest and also on celebrating Black culture in a very respectable way.

 

Good luck in your next endeavors!

 

Written by Vénicia Guinot.

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