For the first time in history the top beauty pageants in the country are all black women. First Nia Franklin was named Miss America then Kaleigh Garris Miss Teen USA. So when Cheslie Kryst was named Miss USA on Thursday this completed the historic trio.
“These three standard-bearers prove that black beauty is at the heart of a 21st century American ideal,” said one expert on African and African American Studies.
The first to win was Nia Franklin from North Carolina. She won in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She moved to New York in 2017 after being selected as a William R. Kenan Jr. fellow. She is an American composer and has a master’s degree in music composition from UNC School of the Arts. She is an advocate for the arts and is an opera singer.
Next was Kaliegh Garris in April. She is from New Haven, Connecticut and is the second girl from Connecticut to be crowned Miss Teen USA. She is still in high school but plans on attending Southern Connecticut State University to study nursing.
See the video below.
The last one crowned was Cheslie Kryst who is from North Carolina, a former Division I athlete and is a civil litigation attorney at Poyner Spruill LLP. Kryst obtained a law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University. She is the third women from North Carolina to win Miss USA. She also is the oldest Miss USA to win the title. Kryst will now advance to the Miss Universe competition.
“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,” said Kryst, after accepting her crown.
In the competitions, Kryst and Garris both chose to avoid straight hair showing off their true black girl magic. Garris said that some people tried to convince her to straighten her hair for the Miss Teen USA competition but she chose not too because her curls make her feel confident.
“The three young women who have focused their energy on demonstrating how standards of black beauty speak for American standards of beauty are to be commended,” said Thomas DeFrantz, a professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University.
The Miss America pageant is the oldest of the three pageants and began in 1921. During these times women of color were not even allowed to participate until the 1940s. This led to the creation of Miss Black America. Then the first black women did not even participate until 1970. Her name was Cheryl Browne and since her black women have been appearing more and more.
So this is for Cheryl and our black queens.
Written by Imani Maxberry
Sources: www.becauseofthemwecan.com // https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheslie_Kryst // https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaliegh_Garris // https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nia_Franklin // www.nbcnews.com // YouTube // CBS This Morning