Jakiyah McKoy, 7, was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware on August 31, but last week had been stripped of her title and crown because pageant officials could not prove her Latina heritage, according to reports from Latino Rebels and Buzzfeed.
According to El Tiempo Hispano, McKoy was born in Brooklyn, NY and her grandmother was born in La Vega, Dominican Republic. However, Latino Rebels spoke to Maria Perez, president of Nuestras Raíces Delaware (the pageant sponsor). She said pageant regulations state participants need to be of 25 percent Latino heritage. “Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage,” Perez said.
A petition, which has nearly 400 supporters, was started by Daniel José Older of Brooklyn, New York, demanding that “Jakiyah McKoy keep her rightfully won crown, because her beauty represents us all.” It further states:
“Jakiyah McKoy won the Little Miss Hispanic Delaware pageant but the sponsoring organization, Nuestras Raices Delaware, has blocked her win after an outcry from people claiming that, because she is Black, she is ‘not the best representative of Latin beauty.’ The title is now pending while the committee ‘investigates’ Jakiyah’s heritage. Meanwhile, none of the other competitors were subject to such an investigation.”
One supporter, Martina Ayala, from San Francisco, California, commented that she signed the petition because Jakiyah McKoy is being treated unfairly.
“If her ethnicity is being ‘investigated,’ you need to do the same to all other contestants. Latinos come in all colors – we are ‘mestizos’ and Jakiyah represents our African roots — she is a beautiful representative of ‘Nuestras Raices’ — Nuestras Raices Delaware – stop the self-hate and educate yourselves on what it means to give honor to ‘Nuestras Raices.'”
But Perez told Latino Rebels several previous contestants of the pageant who have been crowned in the past were both black and Hispanic.