by G. Brown
The world loses one Queen named Franklin and divine providence crowns another. This Franklin though is not the Queen of Soul, but crowned Queen of the Country Sunday night in the 92nd annual Miss America Pageant.
It’s a coronation much of the country apparently missed thanks to Sunday night football or the fact that this was the first contest where the contenders didn’t have to parade on stage in swimsuits. Whatever the cause, viewership dipped to less than 5 million people who actually watched the live broadcast on ABC.
If you were one of the viewers who couldn’t tear yourself away from the Packers-Bears collision on the football field, here’s a short Lightning List of Four Facts You Should Know About Nia Franklin The New Miss America.
#4 Wrote Her First Song Before First Grade She has a Master’s Degree in Music and is not afraid to use it. As she demonstrated during her talent portion of the competition in which she performed a selection from the opera La Boheme, music is in her DNA. Not only can Nia sing like a dream, she also writes some of the songs she sings. Franklin says she’s written about 100 songs and even performed one that she wrote when only five years old.
#3 New York Style With Southern Charm Franklin’s sash may have said Miss New York, but her original roots were grown in the South. Franklin originally hails from North Carolina where the Winston-Salem native even made a run for Miss North Carolina two years ago. She also did her undergrad at a NC school–East Carolina university where earned a degree in music composition.
#2 Ninth Nubian Queen to Be Crowned Miss America The last time America had a Black Queen was when the country also had a Black President. That was back in 2010 when Caressa Cameron wore the crown. The first Black woman to ever be crowned Miss America was singer, actress Vanessa Williams back in 1984. Her reigned ended prematurely and in scandal when nude Penthouse photos of Williams were released. Williams resigned her post with only weeks to go. Runner up Suzette Charles, who also was Black, assumed the responsibilities of the crown for the remaining two months of the ’84 reign. Since then women like CBS News Medical reporter Debbye Turner Bell(1990 Winner) who is also veterinarian Kimberly Clarice Aiken(1994 Winner) and Erica Dunlap (2004 Winner) who were the first Black women to ever represent their respective home states of South Carolina and Florida before going on to win Miss America.
#1 Saved Her Father’s Life Her talent, her intellect, her beauty all helped to make Nia Franklin the reigning beauty queen, but this next fact puts her on goddess adjacent. When her Dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin t-cell lymphoma, Franklin said during her crowning speech that she was grateful to be able to help her dad survive cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, the cancer came back twice so doctor’s decided it was time to try stem cell therapy. Franklin turned out to be the perfect match as a donor and the new Miss America says “I thank God for saving his life through this miraculous procedure!” Franklin says vanity kept her from sharing the 2013 photo of herself in the hospital after the stem cell transplant because of the way she looked, but she says now when she looks at the picture she is
“empowered” because “I know that I made a difference in my daddy’s life and that is nothing to be ashamed of.” Franklin says shares the story to encourage others “to share and speak your truth because you never know who you will inspire and help. #GodisGood#stemcells.
Congratulations to Miss America Nia Franklin and to the most recent Miss Black America winner Ryann Richardson who became the 50thy winner of that title last month in Kansas City Missouri. Richardson and Franklin both represented the Big Apple in their respective competitions.