Alright, I had to do it. It’s February. While I celebrate my heritage year round, there is something special about having a month recognized for the history of African Americans. It only seemed appropriate that as I wrote this blog entry I sat listening to the song “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce` featuring her daughter, Blue Ivy, as well as Saint Jhn and WizKid. Go ahead, turn it on. You know you want to! “Brown skin girl, Ya skin just like pearls. The best thing in all the world. I never trade you for anybody else…”
2019 was a celebratory year in the pageant world. Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe and Miss World are all black women. These ladies are all of different skin complexion and beautiful in their own way: no if, and or buts about it. With all of the excitement from those wins, a few weeks ago I interviewed the first winner of the Miss Pretty Period Pageant, Tanor Moore. Of the several young ladies that participated, Tanor was the youngest (age 12), and is recorded in history as the first winner. If you follow this blog you may recall me sharing an interview with the founder and organizer of this event, Sheridan Davis, a few months ago. This is the first pageant in recorded history specifically for teen females of a dark complexion. As a mother of two brown skin girls I find it important for there to be women like Sheridan that create platforms for girls like Tanor to have an experience in a pageant with girls who look like them, judged by women who look like them.
You may think that it’s only adults that notice they are either the only minority or one of a few in a room from office meetings to shopping boutiques. However, our youth notice it as well. It was in the third grade that Tanor began attending a Catholic elementary school in the Chicago, IL area and was one of ten African American students in a building that housed kindergarten to eighth grade. She recalls feeling like an outsider and being teased for the way she looked. “No one liked me, lunch was horrible and so much was going on.” Her parents communicated with the administration about the bullying. However, eventually the decision was made to move Tanor to a different school after half of the school year passed. This chapter in Tanor’s life hasn’t defined her.
It’s because of experiences like Tanor’s that the Miss Pretty Period Pageant was created. Tanor is grateful for the experience she was able to have being apart of the pageant. The competitors had sessions prior to the event where they discussed their fears, learned about posing, posture and walking in heels. Tanor did confess that she didn’t take the pageant very seriously in the beginning. Towards the end her eyes were opened to the opportunity in front of her and she began to focus on the competition. More importantly, she learned to be true to herself instead of trying to be like others. “I tried to fit in instead of standing out. I was being myself when I got to the pageant,” said Tanor.
Tanor is fully aware of how remarkable it was not only to be chosen from the applicants as a competitor but to also win the entire event. When asked how it feels to be the winner of the pageant she stated, “It feels great! I was excited and I was proud of myself.” Tanor has been inspired to take on other endeavors now that she has seen this through. She hopes that she will be able to attend the pageant for 2020, cheer on the competitors and meet the next young lady that will wear the crown.
If you have a brown skin girl in your life, encourage them. Let them know how intelligent and beautiful they are; show them the brown girls and women who share their skin complexion, hair texture, etc. It makes a difference in who she is and who she will be. She's pretty, period!
*If you would like to learn more about the Miss Pretty Period Pageant follow the pageant on Instagram and Facebook, @missprettyperiod.
Thank God for my mom, Ellen Brown and my grandmother, Lucinda Walker for all the lessons I got at 10 years old that I didn’t understand at the time but has carried me through my life. 🙋🏾♀️