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As we inch closer to Miami Carnival weekend, NBC 6 is celebrating the pageantry of the season. A few weeks before festivities kicks off, the Miss Miami-Broward Carnival Pageant was held at the Miramar Cultural Center Theatre.
The winners have been crowned, but this year was extremely special. One of the judges was the very first Black woman to win the Miss Universe pageant, Janelle Penny Commissiong.
In 1977, Commissiong was crowned Miss Universe, attracting international attention as the first Black winner of this pageant system. She represented the island of Trinidad and Tobago during the competition. The crowning moment challenged the image of beauty in the Miss Universe organization and in pageants across the globe.
“We never saw ourselves in the media or the front pages. We were also until the very end,” she said. “So, I felt like we were there just to make the numbers.”
Her life was forever changed with a whirlwind of media appearances and new associates. With the crown also came with the responsible of being a role model. And now, 45 years later, she continues to serve as a role model for her community.
“I see all the contestants of color running towards me. That is when it hits me that I did not do it for me. I did not do it for Trinidad. I did it for every contestant in that pageant,” Commissiong said.
She was proud to carry out the tradition at this year’s Miss Miami-Broward Carnival Pageant, serving as judge for the crown categories of Miss. Jr Miss and Little Miss. She said the pageant helps to groom, build self-confidence and presents an opportunity for that special young lady to become ambassador for the Miss Miami Broward One Carnival.
“Every culture brings its culture to the US. The pageant gives the Caribbean the opportunity to do that as well,” she said.
Empowering women to be their best selves remained the focus of the Miss Miami Broward Carnival Pageant – women serving as advocates for their community. The winners will be represented at this year’s Carnival events.
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