The Miss Black America pageant announced Tuesday morning that it would revive the national beauty competition that featured past contestants such as Oprah Winfrey and Toni Braxton.
In addition to bringing back the pageant after a 15-year absence, organizers will now offer a Little Miss Black America pageant for ages 9-12 and Miss Black America Teen pageant for ages 13-17. The Miss Black America pageant is open to women ages 18-29. The announcement was made at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
“I don’t think there was less of a need from 1995 until now, but there is certainly an exaggerated need now,” said Aleta Anderson, executive producer for the pageant.
“We are concerned with replacing negative images with positive images,” Anderson said. “We want to expose the contestants to a variety of environments that are available to them.”
In order to offer the pageant to a wider number of contestants, the organization has partnered with the Baltimore City Public School System. As a result, students enrolled in Baltimore City schools will have the $50 registration fee waived. Contestants will also be able to register for free at Baltimore Fashion Week, which will launch Aug. 19. Comedian Cedric The Entertainer has also pledged to pay the registration fee for contestants at his concert while he tours this year.
Anderson expects to attract contestants from all 50 states. The organization has not determined the date and location of the national pageant, which will be held in the summer of 2011.