Daphne Turns 27! Happy Birthday Queen!

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Join us in wishing Miss Black USA, Daphne Lee a very special Happy Birthday.  She's done some pretty cool stuff thus far.  This week she is sharing the stage at New York City Center with the Dance Theater of Harlem on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s passing, which makes it historical..

Lifetime Goes Behind the Scenes at Miss Black USA

A+E Networks-owned cable channel Lifetime has launched a multiplatform digital content series that documents and celebrates real women from across America.  The crew went behind the scenes at the 2017 Miss Black USA's national pageant and selected Miss Black Maryland USA 2017, Saidah Grimes, an attorney advocating social justice reform to be featured on Her America:  50 Women, 50 States.

Filmed by an all-female team of more than 20 women, Her America: 50 Women, 50 States charts the lives of diverse women across the U.S. in an attempt to amplify voices that often go unheard by asking the question: if you could broadcast your story to the world, what would you share?

The women throughout the campaign are profiled in video, photography and audio, aiming to provide a fresh perspective to “differing political, social and economic views”.

Her America began featuring on-air spots on (Feb. 12) on Lifetime and will be shared socially via Lifetime’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Her America is a Lifetime campaign that was inspired by the events of last year,” said Lifetime editor-in-chief, Lea Goldman in a statement. “Like the rest of America, we were overwhelmed by the noise coming out of the election. There was so much talk about women – how little media and entertainment knew and understood so-called ‘real women,’ how many assumptions we made about them. And we thought, there are so many stories, so many sides that haven’t been represented, that deserve to be told. What if we crisscrossed the country with microphones and cameras and asked women, if you could tell your story with the world, what would you share? These are stories you definitely haven’t heard before, and definitely not from mainstream media.”

WATCH: Miss Black New Jersey USA 2018 Travels to Haiti + IT'S LIT

Words, photos and videos cannot even express the beauty I experienced in Haiti but I'm going to try! Follow along as I show you the best places I travelled to on a TeenVogue.com press trip with PAPJAZZ. Haiti has such a beautiful culture and people! Please like, subscribe and share!

Daphne Co-Hosts IMF Comedy Live Pre-Show Event in L.A.

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Daphne was honored to Co-Host the Red Carpet for this year's International Myeloma Foundation Comedy Fundraiser in Los Angeles.  So excited to Co-Host this Saturday in Los Angeles, CA for the International Myeloma Foundation’s Silent Auction via Facebook. @imfmyeloma As many of Miss Black USA supporters may know, Daphne's mother has the bone-marrow blood cancer. This event meant so much to Daphne and she was honored to be able to fly out to the event with her mother.   Check her awesome night pics. 

Daphne Hits Red Carpet for Denim, Diamonds and Stars

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Daphne slayed on the Red Carpet at the Denim, Diamonds and Stars event in Los Angeles.  Meeting celebs, and donating to the @autismcareandtreatment and listening to stories of those impacted by autism was an awesome experience.  As Miss Black USA, she continues to focus on issues that affect the African American Community and raising awareness of issues that often go silent in our communities. Thanks to celebs like Toni Braxton and Holly Robinson-Pete, we know that autism does affect people of color and should be talked about

Daphne Talks Being a Black Ballerina With Natural Hair in Allure Interview

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Daphne Lee, the reigning Miss Black USA opens up with Allure Magazine on being a black ballerina at a time when they still make headlines, as Eurocentric body standards and industry racism continue to pervade the stage today.  Read the full article here.

Union Freeholder Board Honors Miss Black USA

The Union County Freeholder Board tonight honored the 2017 Miss Black USA--Daphne Lee--a Rahway resident and 26-year-old professional ballerina.

 l. to r.  Freeholder Vernell Wright, Miss Black USA and Rahway resident Daphne Lee, Freeholders Linda Carter and Bette Jane Kowalski.

l. to r.  Freeholder Vernell Wright, Miss Black USA and Rahway resident Daphne Lee, Freeholders Linda Carter and Bette Jane Kowalski.

Daphne Judges Miss National Alumni Hall of Fame Queens Competition

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Daphne had the pleasure of Judging the final night competition of the National Alumni Hall of Fame Black Queens Competition in Atlanta.   The annual competition showcases the nation's most beautiful and intelligent HBCU College Queens.  At the end of the night, Crystal Brooks, Miss Fisk University won the coveted crown.  Daphne presented the winner with a pair of her custom ballet shoes.

Essential Read: Daphne Featured in The Lily

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Back in 1970, Harvard psychiatrist Chester Pierce coined the term “microaggression” to describe casual degradations toward people of color.

Today, the concept has broadened and includes other attributes of marginalized groups. Sexuality, body type, religion, class and education to name a few.

Daphne along with 7 other successful women from different walks of life talk about microaggressions they face. 

"8 women. 8 microaggressions. 8 'bullet wounds.'  How hidden biases do more than just sting.  Read here.

This Afro Latina is Making Major Moves: Yas Girl Yas!

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Leyanis Diaz, the reigning Miss Black Florida USA, Socialpreneur and Creator of the Major Marketplace is making major power moves.  

Major Marketplace is an online marketplace for minority businesses and those who want to support them! They are for the majority by the majority; the 99%. In wanting to support more minority businesses like you, they built this platform so that they could bring more buyers to you! They curate local and international products made by passionate creators, priding themselves in bridging conscious buyers to minority businesses in a major way. Unlike other marketplaces, they are ethical, empowering and most of all, invested in you!

And for more major news:  Major Marketplace was selected for StartUPFIU 's third cohort! Check out @majormarketplace, for #minoritybusinesses and those who want to support them! They're looking for #vendors! Go to http://majormarketplace.pagedemo.co/ to apply!

Why does race always have to be an issue? Miss Black Illinois Breaks It Down

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Why does race always have to be an issue? Why must there be a Miss BLACK pageant? Why must you all have separate schools (HBCUs)? Isn't that exclusion or a form of racism in itself? Why can't you all just get over slavery, it happened so long ago?

Why? Because after my ancestors were brought over unwillingly to a foreign place, abused, attacked, stripped of their identity, split from their families, their descendants still struggled and continue to struggle with finding a place in America. Why? Because I see more black women in the media who are publicly exploited or playing to a certain overt narrative than professional, successful, Godly black women. Why? Because we must form diversity and inclusion positions in the workplace, our own organizations, schools, hubs because we were never meant to be included in the majority, and laws and policies are being created daily to keep us out. Why? Because the same way we fight for equal rights with women (feminism), the LGBTQ community, and more, people of color continue to not be provided the same opportunities day after day, after day, after day. Why? Because the color of my skin creates a form of rhetoric that exists to incite fear and say I'm not worthy, I'm less than, and I don't deserve the same success as you. Why? Because the ideologies of naziism are still embraced in 2017. Why? Because we experience modern day public lynchings to black bodies by those who are paid to protect the communities we live in. Why? Because the economy and Wall Street were never meant for us, so we fight and kill each other to try and survive in an economy from which we cannot benefit. Why? Because you try being a person of color for a day. Why? Because in 2017 we still have to say, "the first black president," "the first black senator of...," "the first black ballerina," "A black CEO". Why? Because we've reached a point in time where we must stop fluffing over race issues in America. Racism is real and it's an ideology that is rooted in hate. No matter how you try to put it, it's indefensible and a domestic form of terrorism for those who experience it.

Yes, I'm part of a BLACK pageant system because of these things. I've learned through this process to fully love me - my culture, my skin, my people, my natural curly black hair, the natural shape of my body. I will no longer conform to societal pressures that try to cause me to be something I am not and create self-hate. I felt myself being pulled in that direction to satisfy and be accepted by others, and it completely brought me out of my natural element. I've learned I can walk anywhere with my head held high, and not have to worry about if I am pleasing to you. Why? Because I was created in God's image, made to be pleasing unto Him. You are not my God, and I will no longer dim my light for your comfort. And I hope I can continue to inspire others to do the same by walking in their truth and light as they continue to go after their many dreams.

As I enter into this last day of competing for the @missblackusa 2017 title, I am more prepared than ever to walk into any room with my head held high knowing I'm deserving of the same opportunities and experiences just as any other person. I've been inspired to continue making strides through civic and social works in Chicago, my nation, and other international entities. I will go on to pursue a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University so that I can join the work of those who fight for the representation and welfare of people of color daily. I will continue in my commitments to teaching young brown girls and boys that there is more to life than what immediately surrounds them in their communities through my work as an arts and education advocate.