Queens by nature

The weekend of Oct. 15, You Beautiful Black Woman will be celebrating 20 years of promoting cultural enrichment and diversity as well as societal awareness as a registered student organization.

To recognize that day 20 years ago when YBBW started as an organization to “discover the true essence of the black woman,” the organization will be hosting the annual Miss Phenomenal Woman Pageant on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room, as well as the YBBW Comedy Jam on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in Williams Auditorium.

Shortly after its formation in 1990, YBBW expanded, including students of various genders and races in order to encourage diversity and acceptance. Now, YBBW hopes to bring together the Ferris community to celebrate this special milestone and once again encourage the value of all individuals, especially women, in the eyes of society.

“The goal of this event is to celebrate You Beautiful Black Woman’s 20th anniversary and also to show the women of Ferris State University the true value of virtuosity,” said YBBW President Joy Haley.

YBBW has planned the entire pageant, picked out the judges, pageant finalists, and guest speakers, which will include YBBWs first advisor Terri Houston and Angela Burt-Murray, editor and chief of Essence Magazine, as judges.

Part of the requirements of pageant contestants is an exhibition of leadership, campus involvement, noble character, strength, hard work, selflessness, wisdom, and a good personality, and Haley testified the finalists displayed just that.

“The anniversary celebration and pageant will showcase some of the most dignified and exceptional women on this campus,” said Haley. “The event will demonstrate to the women of Ferris State University that they are far more than what society portrays women to be.”

Also attending the pageant and comedy show will be 2008-09 YBBW President Dia Price, who strongly believes that the pageant is another step toward giving women respect for themselves, and respect in the eyes of society.

“The message and goal of the pageant is to display the talent, creativity, beauty and strength of women. Women have an opportunity to showcase their individuality and to be celebrated as well as inspire and empower other women,” said Price. “Uplifting women is the primary reason this organization was founded and being praised for being a woman is one way to empower the women on the campus and in the community.”

In addition to the title of Miss Phenomenal Women, the winner will receive a $500 scholarship.

As for the comedy show, the event will be featuring BET Comic View comedians including Lil Duval, Meechie Hall, Kellye Howard, and Benji Brown to recognize the special day. A dance group of Ferris students called “Caution Badd” will also be performing before the show.

Both the comedy show and the pageant promise to be a wonderful celebration of YBBW and its 20 years of spreading a message of social awareness, community, diversity, personal value, and empowerment among women, but also all individuals regardless of race or gender.

“These ladies believe in helping, empowering and encouraging not only women, but also people.  They have endured a lot and never lost focus on what is important and that’s building the community,” said Price.  “There is always going to be someone who is in need and YBBW will always be there to help fill that need. I love this organization and these ladies that have worked so hard to build on the legacy of YBBW.  They are all truly queens by nature and I am very proud to have been a part of You Beautiful Black Woman.”

For those wishing to help YBBW celebrate, the pageant and comedy show is open to all. The pageant is free and the comedy show will cost $1.

“This weekend is very special to us and we want everyone to enjoy it as much as we do,” said Haley.

For more information, contact Joy Haley at haleyj@nullferris.edu. n