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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Black beauty contest criticised
Contestants at the Miss Black Britain '07 competition
The contest was open to black and mixed-race women
A beauty contest which only allows black and mixed-race women to enter has been criticised for encouraging segregation rather than integration.

Organisers of Miss Black Britain said the contest was essential because of the lack of young black role models.

The Commission for Racial Equality said it was not sure the contest was the right way to integrate the black community.

Eighteen women took part in the finals in Manchester at the weekend.

'Positive media'

Aneka Johnson, event organiser, said: "It's not segregation at all. We are trying to promote black women.

"If there was more of an even reflection of this then I don't think there would be a need for a Miss Black Britain contest in the first place."

She added that the contest, set up in November 2006, was born out of the frustration with the lack of black British female role models and pioneers especially in the area of fashion and entertainment.

"There is a huge gap in the market for a new beauty contest concept which integrated all black origins and allowed them to compete along aside each other," she said.

"Miss Black Britain focuses upon providing positive media for young black British women.

'Different approach'

"The black British female often takes a back seat, being overshadowed by their male counterparts, with negative media coverage such as gun crime and black-on-black crime.

"Miss Black Britain takes a different approach and seeks to promote black British females in a positive and progressive way within the media."

Twenty-two-year-old Melissa Drummond, from Stretford, was a finalist in the contest at Manchester United Football Club on Saturday night.

"Miss Great Britain has been dominated by a lot of white girls for a long time and many judges or even the contestants who go ahead for it are mainly white," she said.

The winner of the contest was 19-year-old student Hannah Osunsina from south London.




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Finals of the Miss Black Britain contest



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