There She Is, Miss America: Notable Black Miss Americas And Miss USAs

June 21, 2013  |  
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Don’t we all root for the black, tight bodied participants parading around in the most glamorous of swimsuits in the Miss America or Miss USA pageants? It’s like if they win, we win in that moment of recognition that black is indeed beautiful, intelligent, and talented.

These ladies have been prepped for pageantry life since wee little tots, having mastered the stiff gait in high heels and signature back and forth wave of the hand while cheesing, white teeth-y grins. Hair is grand and styled to perfection and designer costumes cling to them like glove to hand. Lets look at 15 of these lovely black ladies who’ve held the title of Miss America or Miss USA.

Vanessa Williams – Miss America

Vanessa Williams was the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America in 1984. She resigned later due to the controversy surrounding nude photos for Penthouse.

 Crystle Stewart – Miss USA

Crystle Stewart won the title of seventh black Miss USA when she was crowned in 2008. This alumnus of the University of Houston is also a former Miss Texas. Currently, she’s an actress on Tyler Perry’s television show For Better or For Worse.

Debbye Turner – Miss America

Debbye Turner-Bell is an American veterinarian, talk show host, former beauty queen, and winner of the 1990 Miss America pageant, which she won three days before her 24th birthday. Turner, raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, was first runner-up at the Miss Arkansas Pageant, a state preliminary competition for the Miss America program in 1988. In the summer of 1989, she won the Miss Missouri title and went on to win the 1990 Miss America crown


Kenya Moore – Miss USA

The second Black Miss USA winner is currently the most well known and a favorite for many – Kenya Moore. She was crowned Miss USA in 1993 and has excelled in media since then, producing and starring in many films. She is also a reality celebrity as cast member on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and has a top-selling workout video


Shauntay Hinton – Miss USA

The fifth Black Miss USA winner is Shauntay Hinton. This Mississippi native and Howard Alum is absolutely gorgeous, as the other Miss USA pageant winners have been, with a flourishing media career. She won the Miss USA title in 2002.

Ericka Dunlap – Miss America

Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004 , represented the state of Florida.  A very unhappy Dunlap recently demanded that the pageant organization apologize to her after she claimed that a producer removed her from a prime seat at the competition last week because she is black.


Caressa Cameron – Miss America

Caressa Cameron is an American beauty pageant titleholder from Fredericksburg, Virginia, who won the title of Miss America in 2010. Cameron graduated from Massaponax High School and currently attends Virginia Commonwealth University, located in Richmond, Virginia.



Nana Merriwether – Miss USA

Nana Merriweather is the eighth Black Miss USA winner. She was initially the second runner up, but picked up the Miss USA duties when Olivia Culpo, the original winner, went on to become Miss Universe. Born in South Africa, Merriwether  is a Duke University and UCLA Alum and won the title of Miss Maryland USA. She is the oldest Miss USA ever crowned, at the age of 27 years old.


Carole Gist

Carole Gist had the honor of being crowned the very first Black Miss USA winner in 1990.  She went on to become the first runner up for Miss Universe. Gist was also the first Miss USA from the state of Michigan.

Marjorie Vincent – Miss America

Marjorie Vincent was honored to become Miss America in 1991. This Peoria, IL resident (she lived in Oak Park when she competed) used her platform to try to stop domestic violence.  She is currently a news anchor.


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