Competed in this pageant for the 50th Anniversary and the entire week was awful, distasteful, disrespectful and disappointing. My fellow pageant sisters and I were all treated very poor by the administration and put into questionable situations.
Several members of the pageant (hair/mua, choreographers, photographers, Kansas City officials and former titleholders) were mistreated, talked down to, given misleading information and can speak to the conditions we were ALL put through besides the contestants. We were just a small portion of a larger systemic problem in this organization.
There's no registration/orientation and when I arrived at 10am, they left me in the hotel lobby until 3pm until I could check-in to the hotel. My sisters and I were not properly fed during pageant week nor did we receive adequate sleep. We were forced to stay in our heels from day 1 up to 12-16 hours a day and many of the women could no longer physically stand by the time prelims came 6 day later.
The second star on the Overall Experience rating is because of the phenomenal pageant sisters I made that week. We felt used for the management to push their agenda to attract more womens' money & money from the host city in the following years.
Attendance at many of our events including prelims and finals was poor for it to be the 50th Anniversary of this historic pageant. This organization is rumored to have collected $125,000 from both the city of Kansas City and the contestants and I alone, yet we ate salad for days straight and only 2 hair and 2 makeup artist were provided during the week for our events. Several of the staff even had the privilege to get their hair/makeup done (knowing the contestants needed their service) and ate our food when it arrived and we were in rehearsals. Thus we ate cold food (basically leftovers) when we were provided a meal.
We dealt with a swimsuit provider who spoke down on several of the women for their body shapes because her swimsuit were not fit for the bodies. I personally did not feel comfortable after doing what I thought was going to be a "swimsuit photoshoot" which turned into a videoshoot in the rain like this was a music video. I asked them to delete the footage because I did not want to be seen in that like and was not fully informed of how they were doing this shoot. They, hopefully, deleted the video when the other two women in the video also expressed similar disgust with the production.
Later this same day, all 23 of us went to the Executive Producer the first time to talk about our week and to find a solution. She was not hearing us out and dismissed our claims. We all went to her again in the middle of Prelims when the curtain were closed to talk about our mistreatment and she was still not trying to hear us. We were broken by that time and had to voice our concern right then and there.
This is only a small summary of our experiences...
When several of us went to tell a current former Miss Black America Queen about our terrible week and experiences she started breaking down and crying!! This was in public on our bus during a 10PM bikini photo shoot in the middle of Downtown Kansas City. Several of us opted out of the shoot because onlookers were taking pictures and there was no proper form of security for us. The former titleholders told us she was saddened because nothing had change from when she competed a few years back. She said she had to sit out one day during pageant week because she was malnourished and they fed the women cold pizza.
Some of the ethics behind the Miss Black America pageant and the scoring system were questionable considering someone who won the Overall Talent Award (who deserved it) was not even called in the Top 10 Talent category. The finals night show started late and ran until 3 o'clock in the morning!!!! Yes we were crowning the Queen at 3am! Many of the women and audience just left and went home. Some even missed their flights and the organization ghosted them.
We were all very disappointed in this pageant. The history behind it is amazing and what it stands for is incredible however the current administration is standing in it's own way.
Thanks to the sisters I made and the former Queens we made it through the week. However, I would strongly encourage NO ONE to compete in this system until there's a major change and administration steps down or resigns. It's hurts to know how much my family and friends spent on this pageant for me and I have no way to give them their money back.
03 September 2018
As a contestant I was not pleased with my experience. For a pageant that claims to promote Positivity and a platform to be celebrated from, I left feeling under-fed, dehydrated, swollen an down right embarrassed about my participation. Scoring was suspect. Who the judges were is still unknown to me. And I am still confused about where my money went, as I am STILL being asked to pay for my local delegate sash and crown. Contestants were always the last to know anything and we were constantly disrespected and mistreated. Also, after learning some of tge connections some contestants had, you vould not help but believe it was all fixed! I would not recommend anyone enter this pageant. The organizing family makes some drastic changes.
The 51st Anniversity of Miss Black America!
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50th Anniversary Miss Black America is Ryann Richardson