REIGNING BEAUTY QUEENS: ESSENCE MAGAZINE "THIS IS AMERICA" DIGITAL ISSUE 2019
Photography: Timothy Smith
Styling: Mecca James Williams
Makeup: Tara Lauren, Jalessa Jaikaran & Billie Gene
Hair: Monaé Everett, Kendall Dorsey & Stephen Hudson
Set Design: JJ Chan
Additional Reporting: Julee Wilson & Jennifer Ford
MISS TEEN USA, USA & AMERICA
BRIEF EXCERPT FROM COVER STORY By Michaela Angela Davis:
Welcome to the era when Black Women reign supreme. In May 2018, a lone sister from Los Angeles glided down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Trailing behind her was a 16-foot monarch veil (named after Princess Di) secured to an antique diamond filigree tiara that once belonged to Queen Mary (the one of England, not Hip-Hop Soul). At the end of her runway, Meghan Markle would become a princess of the United Kingdom, bearing the official title Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. Her Black mama bore witness, sporting crinkly shoulder-length locs beneath a chic celery-colored cocktail hat, tipped stylishly to one side. This spring, less than a year after the U.K.’s first Black princess publicly wore her crown, history was made again when a Black opera singer, a Black lawyer and a Black high school student activist were crowned Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, respectively—and two of them had their dazzling bejeweled tiaras placed atop heads of lush natural curls.
Church Hat: The higher the hat, the closer to God.
Kufi: Ancestral Headpieces
Do-Rag: The simple wrap