Miss Amer­i­ca con­tes­tant Cier­ra Jack­son was advised by many not to rock her nat­ur­al hair on stage, but she did so any­way. The Spel­man Col­lege grad­u­ate won the competition’s swim­suit seg­ment, but lost out on the crown. Even so, she has no regrets. 


“I’ve had so many peo­ple tell me that I shouldn’t wear my hair nat­u­ral­ly curly on stage, but there is a pur­pose behind that vision,” she said dur­ing a Ledger-Enquir­er inter­view. “It’s to show peo­ple that you can still be suc­cess­ful, you can still be amaz­ing­ly tal­ent­ed and still reach all of your goals. I think that’s a uni­ver­sal mes­sage that any­one can grab on to and hold on to in their lives… I’ve been so blessed that the Miss Dis­trict of Colum­bia Board has been so open to allow­ing me to express myself in that way and embraced me choos­ing to present myself in an authen­tic way… I know that it hap­pened this way because God des­tined it to be this way.”

Cierra Jackson singing "Natural Woman" during the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant.
Cier­ra Jack­son singing “Nat­ur­al Woman” dur­ing the tal­ent por­tion of the Miss Amer­i­ca Pageant.

Some believe that if Jack­son wore her hair straight, she would have got­ten clos­er to win­ning the crown. That may be true, but what the naysay­ers fail to real­ize is that Jack­son knocked down a wall the night of the pageant. She opened the door for oth­er women with kinks and curls to be just as nat­u­ral­ly beau­ti­ful as she is. Jack­son may not have won the crown, but she cer­tain­ly shift­ed pub­lic opin­ion and won our hearts.

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26 Comments on "Despite Being Advised Not To, Miss DC Cierra Jackson Kept Her Hair Natural for the Miss America Pageant"

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[…] I Love Being Black […]


We need to stop wor­ry­ing about what oth­ers think of our hair, includ­ing oth­er black peo­ple. No mat­ter how we decide to style our hair, as black women all styles are con­sid­ered black/ethnic styles! Stop ask­ing for per­mis­sion and rock what you feel like wear­ing. Her hair is beau­ti­ful :)

Mary Kaye

Her hair is gor­geous, why should she change it? I’m glad she decid­ed to wear it nat­ur­al. She’s beau­ti­ful, with beau­ti­ful hair.

Lay'Di Cleopatra

What’s sadi to me is that this is a news wor­thy issue. Fry your hair and kill it with a perm and it’s fine. Wear your hair the way “God” made it and there’s a prob­lem.

Hakeem Medlock

Can’t put a crown on a crown.

Fidelia God-blessed

Yasssss!!! Nice one!!! Love that one!!!

Tawny Collins

THIS^^^^^^^ AMEN!!!

David Garnett

Nat­ur­al beau­ty should be what we should attest to and admire! I know I wouldn’t kick her out of my bed.

Loretta Ramsingh

Who advised her not to wear her nat­ur­al hair? I’d like to meet them so I can tell them what she couldn’t or wouldn’t say.

Claudette UK

Isn’t it sad that she had to thank those who ‘allowed’ her to wear her hair nat­u­ral­ly and that some thought she would have won the con­test with straight hair? When are we going to come out from the euro­cen­tric view that straight hair is the best? She’s a beau­ti­ful girl and I’m sure there are some seri­ous brains along with that beau­ty, that is what will car­ry her through life.


Why should we change what is God-giv­en into worth­less stan­dards of man??..to only be pleas­ing to the most sim­ple mind­ed.

Nila N Brown

We’re here, we’re natural…get used to it!


I am so proud of her for how she wore her hair. Truth be told, fuck straight hair that is not even hair but fur. You go, girl!

Susie Dean

We’re def­i­nite­ly “defin­ing our own sense of beau­ty.” An it couldn’t come at a more appro­pri­ate time. Every­one should be allowed to stand in their own truth. Thank you Moth­er for instill­ing that in us ear­ly on.


Am I the only one tired of these beat­ing-the-odds sto­ries w/blk folks prov­ing that our attrib­ut­es won’t hold us back? At what point will we cre­ate our own spaces so that we can stop grov­el­ling for crumbs at some­one else’s table? We’ve been fight­ing this accep­tance and beau­ty bat­tle for far too many GENERATIONS. Enough already.

Sandra Hawkins-Hudson
Sandra Hawkins-Hudson

We use to have our own Pageants not sure what hap­pened but we can cer­tain­ly start them up again absolute­ly!


I’m sick and tired of black women being told to “hide” or be ashamed of what grows nat­u­ral­ly out of our heads.


Why does black peo­ple have to do a jig before being accept­able to the white pow­er struc­ture?
Wear your hair as nat­ur­al as you can black peo­ple. Screw what white freaks think about you.I do not always like to see their long stringy monkey/dog/gorilla hair either. Screw ‘em.

Kari Schreiber

Stephine, sor­ry don’t agree you need your own pageants. that harkens back to the sep­a­rate but equal days which I hope we’re past. Hon­est­ly, I don’t under­stand why her hair was even a top­ic for dis­cus­sion. It’s beau­ti­ful and makes her hap­py and that’s real­ly all that mat­ters.

Contessa Miller

She is excep­tion­al­ly beau­ti­ful, nat­ur­al curly hair and all. I admire her lov­ing her­self and being authen­tic.


I DON’T see what was so “wrong” with her hair?! She’s beau­ti­ful as is!-Thank you for show­cas­ing to the world that our hair is beau­ti­ful as is! :-)

Stephine Griffith

Thats why we need our own pageants where our women will wear African hair­styles and even African attire. Her hair is beau­ti­ful


She looked beau­ti­ful. I don’t get it ’cause her hair doesn’t look like some­thing any­one should be ashamed to wear, let alone advised not to. Our nat­ur­al hair is not some for­eign object that needs to feared or reg­u­lat­ed. It’s just beau­ti­ful in all its unique­ness, so get over it peo­ple.


real­ly, it’s pageants in gen­er­al that are gross in many ways. Would love to see more women be more real if they insist on par­tic­i­pat­ing in these “shows”. ALso her hair is awe­some.


Its because of the pageant. If you notice, the major­i­ty of white women have long hair (they wear weaves, clip-on). If they have short hair its nev­er above their jaw line. its part of the pageant that has yet to be let go. There is this anti­quat­ed idea of what a woman should look like and they won’t let go.


It is so time to let go of these ill stan­dards lend­ed to the minds of whites by their ances­tors and forced upon oth­ers espe­cial­ly kinky hair women, anti­quat­ed for real.