Jakiyah McKoy was stripped of her Little Miss Hispanic Delaware crown. (Photo courtesy of You Tube)
Jakiyah McKoy was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware two weeks ago
but was soon forced to relinquish her title after concerns over her
heritage led to an investigation and sparked a backlash.
The complaints reportedly came from pageant-goers who believed McKoy —
who is black and was born in Brooklyn, NY — did not epitomize Latin
beauty, according to Buzzfeed and Latino Rebels.
According to policy, the pageant participants are required to be of at least 25 percent Latino heritage.
McKoy allegedly qualified because her grandmother was born in the
Dominican Republic but a pageant official admits that her family was
asked to confirm her heritage after the organization was questioned on
the issue. The other contestants were allegedly not asked to provide
proof of their backgrounds.
“Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the
documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican
heritage,” Maria Perez, president of Nuestras Raíces Delaware, told Latino Rebels. Perez works for the organization that sponsors the pageant.
“Whenever we are questioned, we ask for them to bring that stuff in,” she added.
Perez said McKoy’s heritage could have been confirmed if it was indicated on her mother’s birth certificate.
“The mother said she didn’t want to go through it,” said Perez.
Instead, the pageant winner’s family submitted documentation of
guardianship provided by the state. According to earlier reports, proof
of her grandmother’s heritage was difficult to confirm since she had
“We can’t have her be the queen if she
doesn’t have the proper documentation,” Perez said. “It’s not the first
time that we’ve been confronted with the [burden of proof]. It’s
happened in the past and they’ve brought in the proof and we were
satisfied with it.”
However, Perez speculated that McKoy’s family sparked and spread “rumors” that Jakiyah’s removal was because she was black.
Eventually, McKoy was stripped of her crown and now stands as the
runner-up of the pageant — but one Brooklyn resident is fighting for
McKoy to keep her title and has launched a petition.
“This petition is to demand that Jakiyah McKoy keep her rightfully
won crown, because her beauty represents us all,” the petition, launched
by Daniel Jose Older on Change.org, reads.
The petition has amassed over 450 signatures so far. Meanwhile, Perez
denies that McKoy’s race played a role in her demotion and added that
several of the pageant’s former winners have been both black and
“Color has nothing to do with it,” she said. “We’re all Latinos.
That’s why we’re so beautiful because we come in all different colors.”
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works