Pageants have historically been the realm of white, relatively affluent women, but times they are a changing. In an absolutely historic first, three black women have taken the crowns of America's most high-profile pageants, and the black community is celebrating. These competitions marked some highlights for diversity in the pageant scene.
It was only 1984 when Miss America had its first black winner. It took 35 years, but now, for the first time ever, three black women have the crowns of Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA. It's a seriously big moment, and one we couldn't be happier to celebrate.
Join us for a dive into the history of black women in the pageant scene and to celebrate the accomplishments of our latest Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA. It's time for some #blackgirlmagic, and a big old side helping of black beauty. Does it get any better than that?
In 1984, Vanessa Williams won the Miss America competition.
via: GettyWhy is this special?
After 57 years of Miss America, she was the first black winner.
via: GettyFIFTY SEVEN YEARS.
Why did it take so long for a black woman to win?Well, to start, black women were barred from participating for a full three decades. Yikes.
But on top of that, beauty standards are definitely racialized.Natural hair is considered unprofessional and unpolished.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.Wider noses are considered ugly, beauty products don't always come in darker shades, there are literal products out there to make your skin lighter. Embracing black beauty is not exactly something mainstream media does.
That's what makes it all the more impressive when black women succeed against the odds.Black girl magic is what that is.
Three years after Vaness Williams came two more trailblazers.
via: GettyCarole Gist won Miss USA in 1990 and Janel Bishop won Miss Teen USA in 1991.
But despite the progress they made, the pageants have remained immensely white.
via: GettyVanessa Williams was even forced to resign after someone leaked nude photos of her to Penthouse. Clearly a coincidence that she was the first black winner, though, right?
So seeing more beautiful black women winning these competitions is definitely something to celebrate.And let me tell you: we have something to celebrate today.
As of this week, Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA are all black.
For the first time ever Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America are all Black women👸🏾 https://t.co/mKwS8j8nOJ— Blk Girl Culture (@Blk Girl Culture)1556906734.0
Let's meet our queens shall we?These are some truly impressive women.
This is Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA.
This is #MissUSA 2019, Cheslie Kryst. ✨ @renotahoe https://t.co/hoY2RPqoE0— Miss USA (@Miss USA)1556856407.0
She has three different degrees and is an attorney.
Meet Cheslie Kryst, @MissNCUSA @poynerspruill associate and the focus of our latest NCBA Members In Focus profile… https://t.co/k9U9Ks2arK— North Carolina Bar Association (@North Carolina Bar Association)1550428600.0
She isn't afraid to speak her mind.
Had such a great time! https://t.co/QXAmX1Pa4q— Laura Little (@Laura Little)1556250467.0
Kaliegh Garris is Miss Teen USA.
And here we go....☀️ @renotahoe @missusa It’s starting to get real!!! Thank you to @fivecrowncarla and all of my am… https://t.co/kPs2qLQFZ9— Samantha Sarelli (@Samantha Sarelli)1555786028.0
Despite being told she'd do better with straight hair, she held true to herself."I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair." YAS.
And last, but certainly not least is Miss America, Nia Franklin.
via: GettyHer win completed the trifecta and we couldn't have asked for a more amazing winner.
Nia is a classical singer.
via: GettyHer talent was singing "Quando m'en vo" from "La Boheme". Yeah, that's right, she sings opera.
She's highly aware of how her race has influenced her life.
via: Getty"I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school, and there was only 5% minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin," she shared.
Music is what helped her feel positive and she shares that with others.
Unsurprisingly, the internet is in love.
Three Black women have made history by winning Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. 💪🏿 Cheslie Kryst, who is… https://t.co/BRdhBEZ2uJ— AJ+ (@AJ+)1557062942.0
It's impossible to talk about their wins without marking the historic element.
MAKING HISTORY: When Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA crown, it marked more than a personal triumph: It meant that fo… https://t.co/MQp2H6a9Fv— FOX 35 Orlando (@FOX 35 Orlando)1557062113.0
Each of them serves as a role model.
“It is important to little brown and black girls to see 3 strong figures, 3 strong women, African-American women th… https://t.co/GK4wle9JMd— The New York Times (@The New York Times)1557090003.0
Two of the three women won while wearing their hair natural and curly.
Both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA were celebrated for wearing their natural hair during their pageants. https://t.co/FaKBMSlJLo— HuffPost (@HuffPost)1557046515.0
But don't let me tell you.
"I had to stop worrying about where I fit in and have enough strong will within myself to be comfortable with who I… https://t.co/WIGTp2xsVW— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLE Magazine (US))1556922982.0
Even some celebs are celebrating.Heck yes Hallie Berry!
Others noted just how far we've come.
Once barred from mainstream American pageants, black women have now been crowned the reigning Miss USA, Miss Teen U… https://t.co/lLtefvX103— Chicago Sun-Times (@Chicago Sun-Times)1557099002.0
These winners are helping to expand our concept of beauty.
Think of all the beauty history missed because it confined the word for the world. Think of all the beauty history… https://t.co/yBrfe8FiXk— Logan Browning (@Logan Browning)1556683984.0
Congratulations to these amazing women!
Congrats to these history-making queens! 👑 https://t.co/X6wAbIiJVc— HuffPost BlackVoices (@HuffPost BlackVoices)1556921156.0