Darinisha Williams becomes Miss Black California USA, eyes Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant crown

While thinking of ways to be an advocate for African-Americans and women on a broader scale, Alcorn State University alumna Darinisha Williams discovered the Miss Black California Pageant. The current California State University graduate student didn’t hesitate to apply for the competition. Her motivation for applying was to earn a platform that would allow her to speak on issues she’s concerned about.

“I want to represent my community in a positive way,” said Williams, a 2014 Alcorn graduate. “I feel that the black community needs to be uplifted. When I came across a pageant that celebrated black culture, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about the pageant, so I decided to apply.”

Not only did Williams apply, but she also competed and won the crown to become Miss Black California USA 2017. She will go on to compete in the 2017 Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant Aug. 2 through 7, 2017 in Washington D.C. for the chance to earn a $5,000 academic scholarship, a trip to Africa, shoe wardrobe by Liliana Shoes, ORS Olive Oil Hair products and the opportunity to serve as a celebrity advocate for Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness for heart disease.

After years of admiring Vanessa Williams, who was the first African-American Miss America, earing a crown of her on is something she’s proud of.

“It feels like a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to make a difference, and I feel that this title will make my goal easier. It’s a beautiful thing to hold such a title. Being Miss Black California USA is a conformation that no star is too high to reach.”

Providing positive images of women is also a concern and platform that Williams will spend time on. She said that her desire is to encourage young girls to realize that beauty comes in different forms.

“Young girls look up to me and ask for advice, so I plan to be a mentor by inspiring them to love themselves for who they are. The media paints a picture of how women should look and carry themselves. It is time for us as women to take control of this issue. We are beautiful no matter what our size is. It is the right of all women to claim their beauty.”

Williams’ pursuit of a master’s degree in counseling/school psychology and her interactions with troubled students motivates her to shed light on mental illness in the African-American community. She hopes to dispel the negative thoughts that African-Americans have toward seeking help due to mental issues.

“I am an advocate for mental health issues within schools. Our students suffer because of the stigma toward mental health. I advocate for these students with mental health issues because I work with students who suffer from mental health issues. Students struggle throughout the school year because these issues hinder them from being academically successful. I know how important it is to address these issues that impact their lives every day.”

After completing graduate school in 2017, she plans to start a career as a school psychologist. She also plans to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology so that she can return to Mississippi and start an agency that provides services to youth with disabilities and emotional issues.

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