Carolyn Brady made history as the first black woman to win the title of Miss Maine. Now, the talented violinist is using her platform to support Black businesses.
“I think if we have the opportunity to choose where we put our dollar and we can invest in a way that gives back in the long term that’s a really important thing to do,” Brady said with News Center Maine.
Shopping Black in February
Most people only see the glitz and glam of pageantry but Brady is a true example of how pageantry can be used to make an impact. “Each and every day, it is an honor to be the 84th representative to have worn Maine across her chest on the national stage, but the first African-American to have done so well,” Brady shared on Instagram.”I can’t wait to spend this month acknowledging our past, celebrating our present, and building.”
Data has shown that Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, Black women report dismal revenue numbers in comparison to all other demographic groups in the nation. According to a 2019 report, Black women-owned businesses earned an average revenue of $24,000 per firm.
Brady’s goal is to close the revenue gap by supporting black-owned businesses. She’s also using her Miss Maine platform to encourage others to do the same. “I have committed to buying black for the entire month of February,” Brady shared.
Rwanda Bean is one of the businesses that Brady has supported this month. Founded by Mike Mwenedata, the company gives back 50% of profits to coffee farmers every time a cup of coffee is purchased.
Pageantry with a Purpose
As the first black woman to capture the crown in Maine’s 84-year-history, Brady sees the possibilities ahead.
“I hold the title in a state that’s about five percent African American, if that,” Brady shared with her college. “I think it really shows that we’re moving toward a more diverse and inclusive standard of beauty, which is amazing, and I just feel so fortunate to be able to represent that.”
Brady competed for the title of Miss America where she showcased her violent talents. Now, she provides educational training and motivation to students as an AmeriCorps member.