This past Saturday, Florida A&M grad student Shakira Abney-Wisdom competed in the annual Miss Black US Ambassador scholarship pageant in Atlanta. Though preparing for the pageant was a tedious task, Abney-Wisdom made it look easy.
The Miss Black US Ambassador program is designed to help young African American women with empowering, enlightening and encouraging their communities and those around them. The program focuses on giving a voice to those in the African American community.
Abney-Wisdom is enrolled in the educational leadership, Ph.D. program and currently reigns as Miss Black New Jersey US. Her platform is called Teach4Me.
“Teach4Me has two pathways; one for educators and the other for students, families and community members. Teach4Me is a call to action from students of color to their community—teachers, parents, coaches and leaders to teach and engage with them in the school environment,” said Abney-Wisdom.
Abney-Wisdom explained that the teacher pathway is focused on providing professional development and mentorship to help enhance teacher retention and provide opportunity for positive professional relationships.
“I believe anyone can be a stellar teacher, I also acknowledge that my life has been permanently impacted by the black women who taught me at the university level.”
Other queens from around the local Tallahassee area who have competed at the national level sent much love and luck out to Abney-Wisdom during her preparations.
Kayla Gallego, who currently serves as Miss All Worlds Beauties US, reflected on her experience while competing in pageants at a national level.
“My national pageant experience was amazing. I had the opportunity to meet and connect with incredible young women from around the United States.”
Gallego said preparing for pageants can be a stressful task but at the end it is always worth it.
“I want Shakira to give it her all and go out onstage with confidence. I know she will show the judges and the audience how beautiful and intelligent a woman she is,” said Gallego.
Alex Washington, a graduate student and former Miss Black Florida Us Ambassador, described her pageantry days as an “eye opener.”
“The actual pageant week was exhausting because we were constantly on the go, but it taught me patience and dedication. It also brought people into my life that I couldn’t not imagine living without.”
Washington said if she could tell Abney-Wisdom anything it would be to live in the moment.
“You were given an opportunity that people dream of but few actually receive it. So soak up the moment and know that what’s for you will always find a way,” said Washington.
Although Abney-Wisdom did not win the title, she did place in the top 12.
Abney Wisdom wants all women and girls to know that you should always love yourself first.
“Always remember you are the only one who can be you —your gifts, passions, ideas — are all something that no one else can bring to life in the exact ay that you can. Rest in that truth, always.”