Nomalanga: Wake Up Black People; How Miss Ghana Could Have Won Miss World 2013

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miss ghana

Miss Ghana

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

I just watched the Miss World 2013 finale where Miss Philippines claimed the crown. Miss France was second and Miss Ghana was third.

While I am not disgruntled that Miss Philippines won the title, I believe that Miss Ghana could have taken the crown home but I believe that the judging panel was extremely slanted in the favor of Miss Philippines.

Can you imagine how the pageant would have ended if it had been in an African country and four of the 8 or 9 judges had been from Africa? While I am not suggesting that there was any misappropriation in the judging of the contestants, I think it is worth considering that had there been a different venue and a different  set of judges, the winner could have been different and it could have been Miss Ghana.

The Miss World 2013 pageant was held in Indonesia and at least three of the judges were from Indonesia, while the rest came from anywhere else in the world but Africa. Also, there was not a single judge who was Black. The odds were against Miss Ghana and I applaud her for still shining and representing her country with grace and dignity.

So, where do we go from here? Well, it is my personal opinion that there should, first of all, be a pageant that is created by Africans and uses the many beautiful African countries on the continent as their venue. Miss Universe originates in the Americas (USA). Miss World Originates in Europe (UK) and Miss Earth originates in Asia (Philippines).

In Africa, there has yet to emerge a pageant that celebrates our many beautiful cultures and defines beauty in broad enough terms that being dark or darker skinned, having a curvy and shapely (not overweight) body and so called “African features” is not automatically a reason to believe you will not win the title.

Having lived in the US my entire adult life, I have been able to see what can happen to the self esteem and self worth of young women when they are constantly bombarded with messages that tell them that the darker they are and the more “black” they look, the uglier they are. Growing up in Botswana, it was not entirely  different; there still existed a school of thought that being more like a “lekgowa” (a white person, specifically English since Botswana was a British protectorate until independence in 1966), made you more beautiful. That is a lie and simply saying that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors is not enough. It must be reflected in judging panels and it must be reflected in the winners of pageants around the world.

Racism and colonialism are a thread that is always woven into every pageant and the saddest part of it, to me, is that many Africans and other Black people around the world either don’t see it or are so affected by it that they cannot and do not challenge it.

Pageants are about more than what a woman looks like but it has been said that beauty opens the door. How the women look is a factor that cannot be denied and we cannot continue to sit back while beauty is defined in ways that suggest that being from Europe (or anywhere BUT Africa) is somehow “better” than being from Africa. In doing so, we automatically close the door to the many opportunities that could be available to the many women that live in Africa or are from Africa.

Wake up, Africa! Wake up, Black people! Miss Ghana could have been Miss World and until we start to get honest about how we have allowed the way beauty is celebrated to be biased, we will continue to settle for second and third place  or not placing at all.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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20 Comments

  1. Stop looking to these pageants to choose us, as they never will. Why don’t we create and judge our own, like “Miss Africa” or “Miss Black America”? The more creative and self reliant we get the less we need them to validate us. I don’t need these pageants to tell me my hair, skin, and hips are beautiful. If we want change we will have to be the creator of change. Independence is the key!

    • Totally Spot On!! Why We Are Dark and Lovely. It speaks of being Dark And Lovely in the Old Testament. We could easily create A Miss Africana. An artistic blend of Dark and Lovely Beauties from across the African Continent. All that’s missing are people with money willing the search for these rare beauties and creating a forum where they may compete. ~ 😛 ~♡♥♡

      • WHITE VALIDATIOIN IS ENGRAVED SO DEEP INTO BLACK CONSCOUS THAT IF
        A BLACK MISS AMERICA BROADCAST,IT WOULD NOT LAST BECAUSE OF THE
        POOR RATEINGS BECAUSE BLACKS ARE PROGRAMMED TO BE ENTETAINED BY
        WHITES,AND LOOK FOR WHITE SIMILARITIES IN BLACK ENTERTAINMENT.

  2. There was a “Miss Black America” pageant organization at one time through the 1970’s – One of the contests was even broadcast in prime time on NBC.

    I don’t know what happened to that, but it did exist.

  3. Why black folks in 2013 are so bothered by these Eurocentric beauty pageants beats me,Is’nt it long overdue that black media should have pageants that focus and cater to the sistas,there are enough wealthy black entertainers out there that we can control our own media,and forget about the white shyte.

  4. GHANA BORN PAGEANT IS NOT BLACK,BLACK IS AFRICAN AMERICAN.
    YOU WOULD NOT CALL A DARKSKINNED INDIAN BLACK.THESE PEOPLE ARE INDENTIFIED BY THEIR RACE,AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE INDENTIFIED BY THEIR
    COLOR IN WHICH THEY FIGHT NOT TO JUDGED BY THEIR COLOR BUT THE
    CONTENTS OF THEIR CHARACTER,BUT THE AUTHOR IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT
    HE DONT WANT WHITES DOING TO AFRICAN AMERICANS.JUDGING BY COLOR.

    • The author of this blog is a woman born in Botswana. She made a valid point, so please stop screaming with you CAPITAL’. We all feel the possibilities are endless if there were financiers’ willing to scour The African Continent in finding beautiful African women. Ratings would be through the roof in the Age Of Social Media. And maybe, just maybe African-American women would embrace their authenticity of being Black And Proud!!!

  5. Rebecca Ann Vanderhorst on

    Ur readers might be 2 young 2 remember: WE DID HAVE A MISS BLACK AMERICA ORGANIZATION !! In fact, the beast boxer, Mike Tyson, raped a Ms. Washington, one of the BEAUTY CONTESTANTS. Also, there have been a few dark-skinned MISS AMERICA’s

  6. Ur readers might be 2 young 2 remember: WE DID HAVE A MISS BLACK AMERICA ORGANIZATION !! In fact, the beast boxer, Mike Tyson, raped a Ms. Washington, one of the BEAUTY CONTESTANTS. Also, there have been a few dark-skinned MISS AMERICA’s

  7. While it is true that we should stop seeking our validation from outside of ourselves even when participating within our own framework within our OWN communities among our OWN people we STILL tend to choose or identify with those less marinated individuals. We bought the lie and keep it going. That’s OUR fault.

  8. I think these pageants are silly and outdated. The judges still for the most part pick winners who may be of a certain ethnicity, but are closer to European standards of beauty, just to say they’re not racist in selecting a winner. It’s about time Black people stop looking to whites to validate our own unique beauty. We won’t be seeing an ebony skinned Miss America anytime soon.

  9. These events are not on my list of things to be concerned about. I put these things away when I stopped playing with my Barbie Dolls.

  10. By the way, while everyone is on the subject of celebrating Afrocentric beauty, did you notice the long, luxurious weave flowing down her back? Nothing African about that.

    • screw u u hav no idea what u are talking about africans are considered black balck is not african american because we are not africans those r our ancestors we are black americans not african u are very stupid and dumb u need to get ur facts strait

  11. Who cares who is more beautiful. Beautiful white women in America were also told to not come in for work today, or to work but with no pay.

  12. I think we should insist on having an African on the panel of judges.if Africa is contesting,there should be a judge from Africa.about coming up with miss what what is not solvin the miss world problem.

  13. i am 14 years old and i think that black people are lost they are brainwashed by what thw white people say
    some karcasions take our low self of steam by telling us the darker ur skin is the less beautiful u are and saying the more lighter ur skin is it is easeir to make it in this world what people dont know is that black people are the original people of this world we were in this wolrd before white people. notice in science why we r called dominant for a reason dominant has stronger blood than recessesive dominant is the orignial and over powers ressesive. we did not com from no apes or monkeys because if that was the case all apes and monkeys would be humans. white people started trying to graph theirselves back to apes we ar not related to apes by no means. if there were no black people all other races wouldnt even exist. this is how we got white people… killing the darker sparing the lighter and they did this till we got white

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