Miss Black France, the first all-black beauty pageant in France, was held last night at the Salle Wagram in Paris. Eighteen young women (some sources give the number as 20), the majority of whom are university students, competed for the award. The winner is Mbathio Beye, a 21-year old Senegalese woman who is pursuing a Master's degree in marketing strategy in Paris. The runners up are Romy Niaba, a 22-year old political science student (French, of Ivory Coast origin; Rennes) and Aissata Soumah, a 23-year old business student (Guinean; Troyes). Candidates could be as young as 16 or as old as 29 and had to reside in France, regardless of their nationality. There were no weight or height restrictions for entry into the pageant.
The competition has created lots of buzz, some of which is political. There are those who believe that an event that features black beauty is long overdue and should be hailed. Others, including Patrick Lozès - the first black man to declare intent to run for the French presidency - believe this is a divisive event that will further polarize the country in the face of the strong support that the National Front received in the first round of the presidential election. CRAN, the organization that Lozès created and led for several years, is an official supporter of the pageant.
Some are displeased with the choice of the English word "black" for the pageant, preferring instead the French word "noir." Many have pointed out that there have already been several black winners of the Miss France competition and question the necessity of an event that singles out black women.
SOURCE: Entrée to Black Paris Facebook
Photo credits: Miss Black France Facebook