America - it’s a country that normalizes Eurocentric beauty to such a terrifying extent that deviating from this standard has led to harsh punishments for those who refuse to conform.
Now, however, Black women are getting rewarded and praised in a very American tradition.
2019 marks the first time in U.S. history that all three major beauty pageant titles are held by Black women!
But what do these titles mean in a country that has rewarded white women for wearing Black beauty like a costume LONG BEFORE acknowledging that beauty on Black women?
From the rise of the Kardashians to the degrading trend of #Blackfishing, white women in recent decades have built whole empires copying our features.
And while they’re praised for adorning the very looks we have, Black women are disadvantaged (socially and economically) for naturally being themselves.
These beauty contests are steeped in a long history of racism and sexism that is finally being reimagined.
By crowning Nia Franklin Miss America, Chelsie Kryst Miss USA, and Kaliegh Garris Miss Teen USA, this country seems to be acknowledging not just Black women’s beauty, but also our contributions to the world.
Representation and visibility matter. And so does validating our OWN beauty. While America plays catch up, we must continue recognizing and praising our beauty and our worth!