Beauty queen, Ashley Nkadi, has taken it upon herself to empower Black women in her community and beyond as part of her duty as Miss Black Ohio.
When Ashley Nkadi heads to Washington, D.C., as Miss Black Ohio, she’ll represent her state, her community and the city of Cincinnati, but she’ll also represent values she developed in a different town, according to The Jackson Sun.
“Even to this day people will say where did you get this gumption, and I’m like, ‘Jackson,’” Nkadi said. “There’s nowhere that contains people who are nicer in the world. It is so integral to who I am as a person.”
Receiving the title of Miss Black Ohio 2017 gave Nkadi, 22, another way to further activism and engagement, things she began years earlier.
Her platform is “Black girl magic – a guide to owning your Black womanhood.”
“Women already face so many obstacles just being the minority that is women, then just adding the extra stigma of being a person of color, it can be hard to believe in yourself sometimes,” Nkadi said.
A 2016 University of Cincinnati graduate with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, Nkadi is now pursuing a double master’s degree in sociology and business administration.
She was one a few black women studying neuroscience at her university, she said.
“You have to be confident in yourself and confident that this is your path,” Nkadi said. “Just because there aren’t other people here who look like you, this doesn’t mean that this isn’t for you and this isn’t your path.”
Nkadi said it was in Jackson where she began to explore what it meant to be a Black woman.
She attended the University School of Jackson, where she found teachers who helped her understand herself, she said.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Class of 2012 graduate Ashley Nkadi continues to impress. A 2016 graduate of the University of… https://t.co/HujFRAEMse
— USJ Bruins (@usjbruins) December 14, 2016
She also began to attend a historically Black church, New St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church.
“That’s when I really started being exposed to my community and seeing what else there was to offer,” Nkadi said. “I felt like those (years) were very formative in building my moral framework. We had never lived in the south before. Even to this day I feel like the south is filled with people who are kind.”
Miss Black Ohio 2017 didn’t expect to end up in Cincinnati for college. Her mother had worked at the University of Cincinnati when she was young, and she always remembered running errands with her mother on campus when she wasn’t at school.
She applied for sentimental reasons, but received a full scholarship.
When she visited campus, she found herself saying, “There is no place I’d rather be.”
The city of Cincinnati has been the epicenter for events involving race, Nkadi said. During the 19th century, its proximity to the Ohio river made it a gateway to the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves.
“We were really interested in them actually taking this opportunity to make a lasting change and a lasting stance for diversity and inclusion,” Nkadi said.
DuBose’s death led students at the the school, where 8 percent of the students are Black, to speak up and release a list of 10 demands.
— P Eric Abercrumbie (@EricAbercrumbie) October 23, 2015
In the end, they were able to secure $1 million in scholarships for underrepresented minorities, plans for renovations to the cultural resource center, student ambassadors in area high schools and a pilot class about racial awareness, Nkadi said.
Now, with her bachelor’s degree and her new title in hand, Nkadi is looking at conducting workshops on women’s empowerment and preparing for Miss Black USA next August.
“(The title) has forced me to be really outgoing and really engage with people in a different way than I’ve done before,” Nkadi said. “It was a journey myself through college realizing what being a black woman is and believing in myself.”
It is great to hear about such huge plans made by such a young lady. Ashley Nkadi’s purpose is almost unique as she’s going to use her status to promote not only Black beauty but also Black cleverness and Black dignity. We wish her all the best of luck with her ingenious project.