Beauty and brains, but that is not the only things a queen must possess. Yes it is important to be intelligent and having good looks to match doesn't hurt either, but a major quality that is needed to wear the title of queen and tackle everything that it comes with, a queen must be humble. It can be easy to get caught up in all the wonders of being the queen, but nonetheless she must not forget her main focus and the true meaning of the Crown. For Ashley Nkadi Cincinnati's very own Miss Black Ohio, she doesn't let the title define her and being humble is necessary with or with out the crown. Whether or not she is on stage, she knows she has a responsibility not only to herself, but to those who are watching her. Striving to always put her best foot forward, she walks with her head held high always rocking her invisible crown.
Originally from Jackson, TN Nkadi quickly made Cincinnati her home after choosing to attend the University of Cincinnati. Majoring in Neuroscience, she graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree, but not before leaving her mark on UC's campus. Always on the path to #blackexcellence she kept herself busy in leadership roles in campus organizations. She served as the President of United Black Student Association and even founded Noir Magazine in 2014, which is a magazine that celebrate and highlight overlooked people/communities of color. Being very aware in her community and what is going on around her she is not afraid to voice her opinion on the injustice around her. Not only did she speak her mind, but put her words to action. Nkadi was one of the founders of the Irate 8, a collection of black student leaders that wanted to make sure the campus was safe for minority students and be a voice for those who go unheard.
It is not always all work and no play for Miss Nkadi, while in school she ran for Ms. Kuamka. Although she did not win she was proud of her performance and it was just preparation for things to come. Doing some research and knowing a former Miss Black Ohio Pageant winner, Nkadi tried her hand again at the Crown. She applied to be a contestant for Miss Black Ohio and met the age/ school requirements. From there it was history, Ashley Nkadi was crowned Miss Black Ohio," I won't say that I was in it to win it because I feel like if one person win then we all win. I feel like we are all qualified to be a role model, but I was happy that I was chosen to represent the state of Ohio" she said. Being crowned queen has allowed Nkadi to host events and even hold her own challenge called Own Your blackness. This challenge encouraged participants to buy and learn from black owned businesses.
Having a crown or not, Nkadi knows the importance of self care and being around positive people is a must for anyone to stay motivated, "I have like the luxury of being surrounded by like excellence. So I'm always like inspiring to be the best that I can be because everyone around me is doing that. So that inspires me a lot" she said. She gives credit to Doug E. Lee, who she fondly calls "Uncle" , Dr. Jennifer Malat aka her "Ride or Die" and the other faculty members at the African American Cultural Resource Center(AACRC) in helping her along the way to her path of success.
Something Ashley Nkadi always known, but experiencing the pageant made her realize again; is her power, her platform, how extraordinary black women are and how worthy black woman really are. Being crowned Queen is a great honor, but Nkadi wants to let everyone know that she is just a regular #MelaninGirl who is not exempt from making mistakes. She is confident in herself and can learn from them (mistakes) moving forward. She advises future pageant contestants, "Make sure you are already wearing your crown" she continues, " I think that a lot of people think that doing the pageant will give them self confidence or self love or make them feel queenly, but if you don't already feel like it, the crown won't do it for you and you won't be able to do anything for others with the crown".
A woman on a mission Nkadi future is looking brighter than ever. Finishing up her Master in Sociology in April while simultaneously taking business classes, she plan on getting her PhD in Communication in pursuit to having her own Diversity Inclusion Consulting Firm. For now she a preparing herself for Miss Black USA, which takes place in two weeks. Win or lose she know that she is taking her invisible crown where ever she goes.