Former Alabama A&M volleyball star Karensa Beckford was recently selected for the COBRA Magazine Beauty of the African American woman.

Beckford was named SWAC Player of the Year after leading A&M to a second place finish in the regular season in the Eastern Division in 2011.

Twelve women who have competed in volleyball on the collegiate level are showcased not only for their physical beauty but for what lies within. This issue examines how black women celebrate beauty and overcome insecurities.

“COBRA’s Most Beautiful showcases the beautiful and diverse thought process of today’s emerging black woman,” said Gezus Zaire, creator of COBRA. “It celebrates the sister who goes status quo and straightens her hair to the sister bold enough to go natural and buck traditional thoughts and beliefs.”

COBRA shows black girls that they have more options in life than the low aspirations of poverty, crime and degrading sexual exploits promoted in mainstream culture.

Beckford on beauty:

“When I was in third grade, I had recently moved from Jamaica. I thought beauty was being of average height, a certain weight [and] of a lighter skin complexion among other things. I felt ugly because I was always the tallest. I looked boarder line anorexic and not light skinned. On top of that, I had a heavy Jamaican accent and I wore hand me downs from my cousin. I did not fit in. That haunted me in high school. My Alabama A&M volleyball years was the time I realized that there were others that felt the same way. They all struggled with situations. It taught me that everyone has insecurities and it doesn’t make a person any less beautiful.”

To view this and all previous issues of COBRA Magazine, feel free to download all of the previous issues in pdf format at


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