Black women hold every major pageant title in the world right now

Black women hold every major pageant title in the world right now

Beauty pageants are often viewed as an anachronistic leftover from a begone society, and it's not difficult to see why. There have, however, been steps to modernise the process, like when the Miss America pageant scrapped the swimsuit competition in June of last year.

And now, for the first time, the titles for Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe are all held by black women - which is quite the feat in a largely whitewashed institution.

Last night, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned Miss Universe, joining Miss America, Nia Franklin, Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris.

Speaking to the BBC about her historic win, 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 that it is time that that stops today."

"Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it," Tunzi later wrote on Instagram. "May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I proudly state my name Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019!"

Watch Miss Universe's acceptance speech below: 

And in an interview with the New York Times, Miss America, Nia Franklin, spoke about the importance of representation. "It is important to little brown and black girls to see three strong figures, three strong women, African American women that are doing so much great work," she told the publication in May. "People will argue that race doesn’t matter. But race does matter in America, because of the history, because of slavery."

The hashtag #MissUniverse quickly started trending on Twitter, and Tunzi even got a shout-out from Oprah Winfrey.