Just last month, I attempted to reach you, but was unsuccessful. It just doesn’t seem real. We’re now left to exist in a parallel universe without you. The details surrounding your passing are somber, but let us correct the record: You were funny, charming, and refreshingly original. Your presence uplifted. These traits were the fabric of your character.
As a people, Black people, we are dazzling mosaics of anecdotes and experiences. Not just our looks but our culture, and even our struggle is occasionally exquisite as precious stones are created. You were a blue diamond—the most precious stone in the world. On stage, on May 2, 2019, you played it cool and you played it coy. Together with Kaliegh Garris and Nia Franklin, you put the world on notice as three Black women concurrently held the titles of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America for the first time.
Inspired by Maya Angelou, you were more than a model, but a role model for girls of all ages and colors—Black, white, or other. Superfluously, you were a gorgeous beauty. Your face was so pretty, makeup couldn’t make it. Contrariwise, on the inside, your heart glistened even beyond your physical appearance. You prioritized people, you were present and intentional with every interaction, and you were consistent at both. Moreover, you showed me how to invest in the ones you love—their future, well-being, and livelihoods.
Your star shined the brightest as the center of our solar system. You were rich in soul and wisdom. You never had a bad day. You were a sparkle of a girl; and you’re a part of my personal Black history. You searched for a peace that we can’t buy in order to free your mind; but your search ended on January 30, 2022. Though your body has transitioned, your spirit is omnipresent; and you’re forever in our hearts.
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