By Rebecca S. Jones

“Well, well, well… It appears America has finally accepted the century-old secret, that scores of slave masters have always known. OUR BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL! Always has been, always will be.” – Rebecca S. Jones

For the first time in history, three Black women possess the crowns of three major national pageants, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. 28-year-old, Cheslie Kryst, won the Miss USA title; Kaliegh Garris at the age of 18 won the Miss Teen USA contest and 25-year-old Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America last fall. Vanessa Williams (Miss America, 1994), Carole Gist (Miss USA, 1990) and Janel Bishop (Miss Teen USA, 1991) and others have previously held titles in the competitions in the past. But, never have three Black women held the titles simultaneously until now.

Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris

Kaliegh Garris is an outstanding dual-enrolled student at Joseph A. Foran High School and the Educational Center for the Arts where she majors in Theater. She is a competitive dancer who is trained in contemporary, jazz, pointe, hip hop and tap. Of all that she does, she is most passionate about her personal movement, “We Are People 1st,” which she started in honor of her older sister who has multiple disabilities. Kaliegh was also recently recognized for her work by the Department of Disabled Services.

Miss America, Nia Franklin:

Nia Franklin was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and lived in the state through graduate school. She earned an undergraduate degree in composition from East Carolina University and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

During Nia’s college freshman year, her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she became his stem cell donor. This experience sparked a turn of events in her life which led her to seek out the Miss America Organization. She says, “I had to find a way to pay for myself to go to school and so I entered the competition.” “It became much more than just the scholarship money for me, it was also about the mentorship, leadership and sisterhood you find in this program,” she added.

Shortly after Nia’s graduation from the North Carolina School of the Arts, she was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at New York’s Lincoln Center Education and made the move to New York City. Since then, she has been crowned Miss Five Boroughs and won Miss New York in 2018. On September 9, 2018, she was crowned 2019 Miss America 2019; she sung “Quando m’en Vo’” from Puccini’s La Boheme in the Miss America competition and stole the judges hearts’.

In past, Nia has been a teacher, music mentor and has written over 100 songs, including one she began performing at age five, “Love, love, love, love, love is the only thing that matters to me…” Today, she resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst

A native of North Carolina, Cheslie Kryst is a full-time attorney, licensed to practice law in two states. She earned both her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina.

Furthermore, she is a former Division I athlete, having competed in the heptathlon, long jump and triple jump on South Carolina’s track and field team. Additionally, she sits top ten in the record books at South Carolina for the triple jump. Cheslie runs a fashion blog, “White Collar Glam”, that focuses on workwear fashion for women. She is an active volunteer for Dress for Success and credits her achievements to her ability to learn from failure.

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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