Little Miss Hispanic Delaware Stripped Of Title, Pageant Officials Not Convinced Of Her Heritage

September 27, 2013  |  

Two weeks ago, seven-year-old Jakiyah McKoy was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware. Unfortunately, the pint sized beauty queen had her title taken away just days after her victory.

According to The Grio, after Jakiyah’s win, pageant organizers began receiving complaints that because she was Black and born in Brooklyn, NY, she didn’t epitomize Latin beauty. Pageant policy specifies that contestants must be of at least 25 percent Latin descent. Though Jakiyah’s family argued that her paternal grandmother was born in the Dominican Republic, it was difficult to prove since the child’s grandmother passed away.

“Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage,” Maria Perez, president of Nuestras Raices Delaware, told Latino Rebels.

“Whenever we are questioned, we ask for them to bring that stuff in,” Maria continued.

After much back and forth, Jakiyah’s mother decided that she wouldn’t continue to subject herself or her child to the scrutiny.

“The mother said she didn’t want to go through it,” Maria said.

Pageant organizers say that because Jakiyah’s Hispanic heritage could not be proven, she could not hold the title. The elementary school student was stripped of her title and made a runner-up in the pageant.

“We can’t have her be the queen if she doesn’t have the proper documentation. It’s not the first time that we’ve been confronted with the [burden of proof]. It’s happened in the past and they’ve brought in the proof and we were satisfied with it,” Maria continued.

The organization’s decision sparked outrage, as many felt that Jakiyah was penalized for not being “Latin enough.” Maria insists that this is not a case of race discrimination, as there have been Black and Hispanic pageant winners in the past.

“Color has nothing to do with it. We’re all Latinos. That’s why we’re so beautiful because we come in all different colors,” said Maria.

Folk aren’t buying her explanation though, there’s currently a petition requesting that Jakiyah be given back her title and crown.

“Jakiyah McKoy won the Little Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant but the sponsoring organization, Nuestras Raices Delaware, has blocked her win after an outcry from people claiming that, because she is Black, she is ‘not the best representative of Latin beauty,’ petition organizer Daniel Jose Older writes.

“This petition is to demand that Jakiyah McKoy keep her rightfully won crown, because her beauty represents us all,” he explains.

To date the petition has acquired 822 signatures. It’s very unfortunate that the organization saw fit to subject a seven-year-old to this kind of scrutiny, embarrassment and disappointment.

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