McKoy is a Brooklyn, New York native who’s grandmother was born in the providence of La Vega in the Dominican Republic.
Many people apparently felt Miss McKoy wasn’t a good representative of Latin beauty, and pushed for a further look into her cultural background which led to her having to relinquish her crown.
According to Buzzfeed and Latino Rebels, some of the pageant-goers started to complain after Jakiyah was crowned with claims that she was black. The pageant rules state the all participants have to be of at least 25 percent Latino heritage.
While no other participants were asked to verify their backgrounds, McKoy’s family was prompted to confirm her heritage. She was supposed to qualify based on her grandmother being born in the Dominican Republic.
“Her parents were asked to bring in documentation. Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage,” Maria Perez, president of Nuestras Raíces Delaware, told Latino Rebels. Perez works for the organization that sponsors the pageant.
“Whenever we are questioned, we ask for them to bring that stuff in,” she added.
If her mother would’ve showed proof of Latino heritage on her birth certificate, Perez claims she would’ve qualified.
“The mother said she didn’t want to go through it,” said Perez.
They did however provide proof of guardianship, but was unable to really clear up the question of her grandmother’s heritage because she passed away.
“We can’t have her be the queen if she doesn’t have the proper documentation,” Perez said. “It’s not the first time that we’ve been confronted with the [burden of proof]. It’s happened in the past and they’ve brought in the proof and we were satisfied with it.”
Perez says that McKoy’s family spread rumors that she was dethroned because she was black instead of what she says was simple lack of proof.
With McKoy’s crown taken away, she was moved to runner up; but one resident is continuing the fight for the young girl and has launched a petition.
“This petition is to demand that Jakiyah McKoy keep her rightfully won crown, because her beauty represents us all,” according to the petition, launched by Daniel Jose Older on Change.org.
The petition has gathered over 450 signatures so far. Meanwhile, Perez maintains that McKoy’s race has nothing to do with her crown being stripped away.
“Color has nothing to do with it,” she said. “We’re all Latinos. That’s why we’re so beautiful because we come in all different colors.”