Today’s Love: Our Miss California, By Way of Compton

Shanice McKinley wants the world to know that her hometown's more than what you may think.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 18, 2010

Shanice McKinley 25, is competing for a chance to represent Compton as Miss California USA 2011. And she’s doing it for all the right reasons.

McKinley hails from Compton, a working-class neighborhood in South Los Angeles bordered by Long Beach and Watts. It’s a community that’s long been known for its violent history, one that was exaggerated and popularized by the town’s association with gangsta rap.

"Compton has so many negative stereotypes, but we have come such a long way," McKinley told the L.A. Times.

McKinley experienced the effects of those bad associations first hand when she started school at Cal State San Bernardino. Her roommate didn’t show up until the second week of school because she was afraid to share a dorm room with a "Compton girl."

McKinley, who is one class away from getting her MBA, wants to win the Miss California title to show people another side of Compton.

McKinley will compete agaisnt 200 other young women for the title this weekend. Pageant officials say she will be the first from Compton in at least 20 years.

Visit the LA Times to read the feature on McKinley.

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