The venue was the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The occasion was a yearly beauty pageant at which a Canadian-born Nigerian teenager brushed aside eight other contestants from the Black world to clinch the highly sought-after MISS BLACK BEAUTY CANADA 2014.
Opeyemi Odunaike, 19, is an undergraduate student in Business Administration at Brock University, St. Catherine, Ontario, Canada. She hails from the Ekiti/Ogun axis of south-western Nigeria. Her father is Wole Odunaike, former Assistant Editor of the defunct Evening Times from Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State, while her mother, Bisi (nee Ogundana), hails from Ikole-Ekiti in Ekiti State.
Yemi, as she is popularly called, is a Business Administration undergraduate at Brock University, St Catherine, Ontario, Canada. She was the second youngest amongst nine contestants from Africa and The Caribbean, home to the black populations of the world, who made it to the final. Her rivals are from Ghana, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Guyana, Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba.
The yearly beauty extravaganza is organized by Fabliss World Entertainment Inc whose president, Olamide Badmus said it was created to “honour Black beauty and to raise awareness of the richness of Black cultural heritage”.
“We seek to showcase talents and promote cultural, social and leadership qualities by providing a forum where today’s Black Canadian women can express their view points, talents and accomplishments”, she added.
Billed as “Beauty Pageant For a Cause”, this year’s edition is in support of Sickle Cell Anaemia.
While other contestants ran on various platforms reflecting the spirit of the edition, Yemi’s platform: “Women empowerment, Sickle Cell awareness and advocate for Ekiti Kete Canada” was in a class of its own.
“If I win the crown of Miss Black Beauty Canada”, she wrote in her profile, “I will use my platform to empower women, raise awareness of Sickle Cell Anaemia and help the non – profit organisation called Ekiti Kete Canada on their project called feed the poor and fund raising”. “I truly want to make a difference in our community”, she added.
If this thematic platform did not win her the crown, her suppleness and deftness of her moves on the floor while doing Ekiti Kete cultural dance was pure delight. She is tall and slim with disciplined physique. Not for her the grotesque muscle mass of many big and clumsy North American children hardly able to fit through the front door of their houses, looking like a Hulk.
Even then, her intelligent answer to a set of questions during the Talent Competition segment of the programme might have weighed positively on the judges of the night.
What are the three words to describe yourself?
Being creative, funny and ambitious.
What makes you sad?
Seeing people struggling and suffering around our community and, especially, around the world.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
A very beautiful, black, young lady that has a bright future ahead of her.
What has been your most interesting dating?
Hmmm, I don’t have one but, if it was to be interesting, it would be a beautiful dinner date.
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
It would have to be Oprah Winfrey. She’s a very strong, beautiful, black woman; she has inspired and impacted so many people’s lives and I would also love to do that as well.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration will have to be my mother. She’s a very beautiful, bold, black strong woman. She motivates me to do my best and that’s why I love her.