Yesterday in Las Vegas, dozens of women competed for the title of Miss USA 2016. As each of the educated, poised women graced the stage, one could not help but notice the melanin radiating through the ball gowns and sashes. Black girl magic made not one, not two, but several appearances! More than this, a couple of ladies vying for the crown hailed from historically black colleges and university, how exciting!Check out the contestants that got us excited!
Pageant winner, 26-year-old Army reserve officer and IT analyst Deshauna Barber is a proud alumna of Virginia State University. Barber is also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Congratulations to this queen. Go Trojans !
Deshauna is 26 years old and was born in Columbus, Georgia. Due to her father’s military career she relocated multiple times to states including North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and finally to Washington, D.C. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management from Virginia State University, Deshauna moved to Washington D.C. where she is currently working as an IT Analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Being the daughter of a retired Army Master Sergeant it is no shocker that Deshauna decided to join the Army. She commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer in 2011 and is currently a Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland. Deshauna loves to dance, hike and enjoy quality time with her family. Deshauna has a passion to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, specifically focusing her platform on PTSD treatment for soldiers returning from deployments and suicide prevention in the Armed Forces.
Desi Williams received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Hampton University, where she also earned a B.S. in Health & Physical Education, minoring in Leadership Studies. She works as a faculty member at her alma mater as Interim Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy.
A licensed clinician, certified yoga instructor, and Reiki Level I practitioner, Dr. Williams aspires to be a positive role model for others. Her efforts resulted in the 2014 book she co-authored and published, entitled Love Affair with my Hair: Why Black Women Cheat on Health as well as her Hampton University legacy, the HU 5k by the Bay. Desi enjoys serving as a public and motivational speaker and is the spokesperson for her city’s annual marathon event. Desi represents that the modern woman can truly have it all!
Combining her work behind the camera with her education, Desi dreams of becoming the female Dr. Oz!
In addition to these two ladies representing historically black colleges and universities, co-host Terrence “J” Jenkins, is also a graduate of an HBCU – North Carolina A&T State University. HBCUs have a few reasons to be proud, including a crown.