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Black women dominate pageant world

For the first time in beauty pageant history, all five major title holders are black women: Nia Franklin (Miss America), Cheslie Kryst (Miss USA), Zozibini Tunzi (Miss Universe), Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen), and Tuni-Ann Singh (Miss World). 

Over the decades, black women have won all five crowns, but never at the same time. In the 1920s, people of color couldn't even compete in beauty pageants. Seeing as though black women were discriminated against for their looks and appearance less than 60 years ago, having all major title holders women of color, sends a positive message to younger black women. 

On Dec. 8 Miss South Africa, Tunzi, won the 68th Miss Universe competition and became the first black woman to win the celebrated pageant since Leila Lopes in 2011. She was also the first dark-skinned black woman to wear the crown with short, natural and conditioned hair. 

During the competition, Tunzi said: “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful. I think it is time that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face, and want them to see their faces reflected in mine.”

One week later, Jamaica’s Tuni-Ann Singh won Miss World. 

In a speech at the competition she said: “To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world, please believe in yourself.” 

Continuing her statement on Twitter, she wrote; "Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE."

Chelsie Kryst, won the Miss USA contest, Kaliegh Garris won Miss Teen USA, and Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America in September. 

In a December article in the New York Daily News, writer Theresa Braine wrote, “The five wins have become a powerful symbol of how much American views on beauty have evolved from a past ruled by racism and gender stereotypes.”


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