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*On this date in 2019, Black women finished a sweep of the world's five major beauty pageants simultaneously. For the first time, top beauty pageants Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe, and Miss World have crowned Black women their winners in one year.
Early in their history, some dating back to the 1920s, beauty pageants barred non-white women from participating. Even after organizations began changing their rules to accept women of all races, there was still a lingering frustration and opposition to joining. Only in the last 50 years have black women become more prevalent in these competitions.
Janelle Commissiong was the first Black Miss Universe in 1977, Vanessa Williams was the first Black Miss America in 1983, and Carole Anne-Marie Gist, the first Black Miss USA contestant, was crowned in 1990. The following year Janel Bishop became the first Black Miss Teen USA. In the 2001 Miss World beauty pageant, Agbani Darego of Nigeria was the winner.
When Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica was crowned as Miss World on December 14th, she joined a historical group of Black women; the newly crowned are: *Miss World 2019 Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh, 23, from Morant, Jamaica, graduated from Florida State University with degrees in psychology and women's studies. *Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Along with English, the 26-year-old speaks Xhosa and has launched a social media campaign against gender-based violence. *Miss USA, Chelsie Kryst has a law degree and MBA from Wake Forest. She also studied at the University of South Carolina. *Miss Teen USA, Kaleigh Garris says she feels more confident and comfortable with her naturally curly hair. *Miss America, Nia Franklin works with the nonprofit group Sing for Hope to help others through the power of music.