Culture

5 Things To Know About 2019 Miss America Winner Nia Imani Franklin

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ SEPTEMBER 09: Miss New York Nia Franklin wins the 2019 Miss America Pageant held in Historic Boardwalk Hall on Sunday September 9, 2018 in Atlantic City New Jersey. (Photo by Tom Briglia/Getty Images)
Paula Rogo
Sep, 10, 2018 2:02 PM UTC

Miss America has crowned a new winner — and she is a Black Queen.

Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin took home the 2019 Miss America tiara during Sunday night’s historic pageant. Franklin won a $50,000 scholarship along with the crown in the first Miss America pageant to be held without a swimsuit competition.

“I have New York grit,” Franklin said during the competition. “As a New Yorker, I understand what it means to work hard.”

Beyond knowing the value of hard work, here are five things to know about the New York beauty:

She is a classically-trained opera singer
The 25-year-old is a classically-trained vocalist, who received a master’s degree in composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2017. She also studied music composition during her undergraduate years.

She sang an operatic selection from the opera La Boheme during the talent portion of the Miss America pageant and even promoted an “advocating for the arts” platform during the competition.

Her love for song also pushed her into music composition, a career that she hopes will win her a Grammy one day.

She’s actually a North Carolina native
Franklin grew up in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Although she ended up moving to New York last year after being accepted to the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan, she still has love for her native North Carolina where she also received both her music degrees.

Her love for the arts helped her connect with students at her predominately white school.
During the Miss America competition, Franklin used her life as an example of why the arts matter.

”I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only [a] five percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin,“ Franklin said. ”But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was.“

Her father is a cancer survivor
Franklin’s father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during her freshman year of college.

After her win Sunday night, Franklin thanked her “beautiful family, my mom and my dad, who is a cancer survivor.

She believed music and perseverance were big players in his healing. According to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts website, “she used her love and passion for music to find therapeutic ways to help herself and her family through the hardship. As a last resort, she donated stem cells and essentially saved his life.”

She is a HUGE Janelle Monae fan
Like all of us, Franklin is a fan-girl for the “Tightrope” singer.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I STAN for this strong woman,“ she wrote earlier this year on Instagram when Monae dropped her ”Dirty Computer“ album. ”She is one of my musical (s)heroes…“

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