Washington, D.C. -- The Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is redefining the 2013 edition of Miss Black USA to emphasize all attributes that contribute to today's successful African American woman – mind, body and spirit. The Miss Black USA Pageant finals are scheduled for Monday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.
Karen Arrington, Founder of Miss Black USA, said that the scholarship pageant, with the theme "Still I Rise," reflects the American black woman's rising leadership role in leadership in America.
"For the first time in history, we have an African American First Lady, a black woman on the top of the Forbes Richest Women in Entertainment list, and African American women who are in positions of prestige and power at organizations like Xerox, Care USA, Microsoft, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The World Bank," she said.
She added that this year's 30 Miss Black USA contestants, from 28 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, accurately represent the theme. More than 80 percent of the contestants are enrolled in graduate or professional school. Miss Black Rhode Island is pursuing a medical degree and Miss Black Arizona is pursuing a doctorate degree. It will be bittersweet for Miss Black Virginia, Natasha Stovall who is preparing to shine during the preliminary competition. Her grandmother worked in the hotel's Housekeeping department for 10 years while helping to raise Natasha and her brother. She plans to shine where her grandmother once struggled.
Miss Black USA was founded in 1986 to provide educational opportunities to outstanding young African American women. To date, the pageant has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships.
Kalilah Allen-Harris, M.D., Miss Black USA 2010, Actress and Physician, will co-host the pageant along with R & B recording artist Brian Christopher. Major sponsors include the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, School of Film & Television, and Arik International Air.
The pageant will kick off with a VIP Red Dress Reception at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel to raise awareness of heart disease, the leading killer of women. Miss Black USA is a national partner of the Heart Truth Campaign, as well as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Leading up to the pageant, visitors to the Miss Black USA website, missblackusa.org, may cast votes for their favorite contestants in the 2013 People's Choice contest. The winner will be announced at the pageant finals on August 12. Voting, through 11:59 p.m. August, 11, costs $1 per vote, with no limit on votes. Tickets for the pageant are on sale now at wepay.com.