History has been made this year in America after Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA’s winners all happened to be black women. There have been black winners before, but they’ve never all been the reigning queens at the same time.

Beauty pageants have undergone some changes

Forbes reports that this historic moment comes after the three beauty pageants have undergone some serious changes in the past few years. As we all know, gender norms are changing, and people are no longer putting up with the objectifying of women. Needless to say, these pageants had to make sure that they keep up with the times. One of the significant changes occurred in 2012, when The Miss Universe Organization, which oversees all three pageants, started to allow the participation of transgender women. Another nice change was the scrapping of the swimsuit segment in the Miss America pageant last year. Progress is being made – and we like it.

This year’s reigning queens are all black

Having black women as the reigning queens of all three pageants occurred on May 2, when Miss North Carolina’s Cheslie Kryst was crowned as 2019’s Miss USA,  joining Miss Teen USA winner Kaliegh Garris and Miss America Nia Franklin as this year’s reigning queens. And Kryst’s adventures are not over quite yet – she’s now advancing to the Miss Universe competition, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

For the First Time Ever, Black Women Hold the Title for Miss USA, Miss America, and Miss Teen USA_Bad Yogi

Kaleigh Garris was crowned as Miss Teen USA 2019 on April 28.
Image: E-Times

For the First Time Ever, Black Women Hold the Title for Miss USA, Miss America, and Miss Teen USA_Bad Yogi

Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America 2019 in September.
Image: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

This wasn’t always possible

As you might’ve guessed, black women weren’t always a part of these pageants. Miss America, which is the oldest of the three pageants, dating back to the 1920s, only started to accept women of color into the competition in the 1940s. It’s a crying shame, really, because why should the color of your skin define whether or not you can take part in a beauty pageant? The first black woman to ever take part in Miss America was Cheryl Browne in 1970. The first black woman to win the pageant was Vanessa Williams in 1983. It took some time, but the tide is turning. Miss USA and Miss Teen USA have been held since 1952 and 1983 respectively, with Miss USA announcing its first ever black winner, Carike Anne-Marie Gist, in 1990. The year after, Miss Teen USA announced Janel Bishop as its first ever black winner.

This year’s Miss USA pageant saw a lot of diversity

Reigning Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, expressed her excitement over all the new developments in her crowning speech:

“Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength and empowered women. I’m looking forward to continued progress in my generation.”

For the First Time Ever, Black Women Hold the Title for Miss USA, Miss America, and Miss Teen USA_Bad Yogi

Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst wins the 2019 Miss USA final competition
Image: Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP

We’re looking forward to that progress too. It’s great to see more diversity and inclusivity in pageants like these – it sends a message to the whole world that the time for diversity is now. This year’s Miss USA pageant proved this – Alejandra Gonzalez, the first runner-up, is of Mexican descent while the second runner-up, Triana Browne, has Native American heritage and an African American mother. Diversity quite literally rules at the moment.

The world is ready for this

People seem to like the changes that are occurring within these pageants and couldn’t help but point out that for the first time ever, three black women are the reigning queens in the same year. Even Democratic senator and 2020 presidential contender, Kamala Harris, pointed it out on Instagram, saying that it is “truly amazing to see”. We couldn’t agree more.

Hopefully, these pageants will continue to inspire diversity and inclusion. These new developments are amazing. A few decades ago, people probably wouldn’t have believed it possible. We’ve come a long way, and it’s great to see the progress we’ve made. This is definitely a historic moment worth celebrating.

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