I was only 8 years old...

by Paula Neal Mooney

I was only 8 years old.

The day was July 16th.

The year was 1977, three decades ago, when I sat in the very same space I sit now, looking up with hope and amazement at the beautiful caramel-skinned woman on my parents' TV set.

Trinidad and Tobago.

That's what the sash across Janelle Commissiong's body said, and from that day forward, Trinidad came to stand for not only some exotic isle of untold delights, but a land that showed me all things were possible for a young black girl like me.

This newfound awareness was only further solidified when Janelle -- born in Port-of-Spain -- won and became the first black woman to wear that Miss Universe crown.

That night something changed within me. I've run with it ever since...

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Martin Lindsey. said…
For our generation, that's right up there with Sanford and Son as the first black sitcom and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as the first black cartoon just a few years earlier.

The 70's were pioneering days for the Pan-African experience on TV in a number of ways weren't they?
Bonnie Calhoun said…
Diahann Carroll had the first black sitcom in the 60's called Julia...LOL..that was my generation.

McMooney you are a little kid *snort* in 1977, I was 27!
James said…
This is a wonderful story, thanks for sharing, James Brown, I am black and I'm Proud, and Muhammed Ali, I am The greatest, had an impact on me.
I wonder what the kids see today,
Lisa C said…
Hi Paula, I was pretty young when she won, however I do remember my Mom & Dad speaking about it many years later. They are true Trini's to the bone!

When you get a minute, stop by my place and pick up your reward! It'll be waiting for you!!


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