The win Marks a Historic Year for Black Women in Beauty Pageants

Her winning remarks even grabbed Oprah’s attention.

South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi was crowned  Miss Universe over the weekend, making her the first black woman to win the renowned beauty pageant since Leila Lopes in 2011 and capping off a triumphant year for black women with in the pageant circuit. It marks the first year Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and now Miss Universe are all black women, according to CNN.

Tunzi’s crowning win is notable for many reason. For one, she chose to flaunt her natural hair – a chic, cropped, textured cut not uncommon to black women everywhere, but definately uncommon within the pageant world – taking a stand against antiquated beauty standards for blck women.

“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me – with my kind of skin and my kind of hair – was never considered to be beautiful,” Tunzi said during her closing address. ” I think it is time that stops today. i want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.”

Many feel, however, it was Tunzi’s comments on instilling leadership skills in young women today that secured her the Miss Universe crown – they even grabbed at the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who tweeted her congratulations and afterward invited Tunzi to speak at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

“[Leadership] is something that’s been lacking in young women and girls for a very long time, not because we don’t want to [lead], but because of what society has labeled women to be,” said Tunzi. “I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we shoul be given every opportunity and that is what we should be teaching these young girls – to take up space. Nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself.”

We don’t think anyone could have said it any better.

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