Golden Eagle prepares to compete in the Miss Black Miss. pageant

Imani Harris // Courtesy

Petal native Imani Harris has been crowned Miss Black Forrest County.

Harris is a junior Public Relations major at The University of Southern Mississippi with a minor in black studies. She has competed in several pageants before and is excited to share her talents with the Miss Black Mississippi pageant system which is full of brand new opportunities, according to Harris.

Harris is the president of the oldest and largest minority student organization at The University of Southern Mississippi, the Afro-American Student Organization. She is also the president of a recently founded organization on campus titled Queens Uplifted, which is dedicated to the holistic development of black women on campus. She is a Luckyday Scholar, the social media director for the Student Government Association, a member of Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society and a member of the Southern Miss Association of Black Journalists.

“I’d like to think of myself as a dynamic student leader on campus with a passion for personal development; especially that of African American women,” Harris said. “I am truly dedicated to the holistic growth of our women, which is why this pageant system caught my eye. I am totally taken with the idea of competing in a system created to give women like me an opportunity to compete in pageantry without being worried about being westernized standards of beauty while doing so.”

The mission of the Miss Black USA Pageant is to provide educational opportunities to young women of color and to develop them holistically. The Miss Black Mississippi pageant is one that offers a state title for a young woman from MS to advance to the national pageant in Washington, DC.

Each contestant is required to have a platform that she stands on and will advocate for during her reign as Miss Black Mississippi.

The name of Harris’s pageant platform is “Project Jamila.” Jamila means “beautiful” in the African language, Swahili. Harris said she struggled with low self-esteem for the majority of her adolescent years trying to conform to social media beauty standards. Harris said that society has seemed to have forgotten the beauty and essence that comes along with being a woman; specifically, a black woman. She hopes to use her platform to break barriers in the lives of young black women as it relates to self-esteem. Harris would like to encourage self-love and self-awareness in young ladies in this generation through the promotion of building self-esteem, education, cultural awareness and community.

The Miss Black Mississippi State Pageant will be held on October 21, 2017 in Grenada, Mississippi. Competitors will compete in categories consisting of talent, fitness, interview, formal wear and on-stage question.

To sponsor Imani or book her for special events, email her at