Today is a day of celebration, ladies. Last night, we had a glorious occasion. Ms. Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa has won Miss Universe 2019. This tops off an amazing pageant winning streak for black and biracial women, who have secured Miss America, Miss Teen USA and Miss USA. (If a sister wins Miss World on December 14th, I will officially be ready for the rapture.) For those of you who would like to witness the winning moment, please enjoy this video:
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 9, 2019
Zozibini is just 26 years old, and she has officially made history. Miss South Africa is now the sixth black woman to hold the coveted title. Here at Beyond Black and White, we want to celebrate your win. We are so proud of you. You have made your country proud, and you have contributed to the positive corrective imagery and promotion of black women everywhere. We also want to take a moment to look critically at this situation. What can we learn from this amazing achievement? Let us take a look at what Pink Pill lessons we can glean from this situation.
Black is beautiful
This quote is more than a slogan and a movement from the 1960s. It is the truth. People love sharing commentary and videos on the internet disparaging the looks of black women, but there is clear evidence to the contrary – the attractive, beautiful and stunning women that you see everyday. Having national and global pageants recognize this is just the icing on the proverbial cake. (Everyone, of course, is beautiful in their own way, BUT, with all due respect, we are talking about black women today.)
Embrace your unique beauty
I have been watching Miss Universe and other pageants for quite some time. I absolutely adore these contests. However, I have noticed a trend. In countries that are seeming heavily populated by black people *cough* Brazil, South Africa, the Caribbean, and other African countries, *cough* they seem to be very well represented by their mixed race or white citizens, instead of women who accurately represent the majority of their population’s image. I personally believe that this does a disservice to your nation. Not only are you continuously promoting an inaccurate representation of your people, what of the next generation? What will little girls think when they see that the girls who look like them are not promoted like those who are white, mixed-race or lighter skinned? (Again, for people who like to tear apart my posts. I am not saying that white, light skinned or mixed-race women should not be a part of beauty pageants. I am saying that countries can work to choose representatives that reflect the look and feel of their country for the most part. There can always be exceptions to the rule.)
Black women constantly feel the pressures to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty. We are pressured to lighten or whiten our skin, have surgery to change our features and to either straighten our hair or hide it in wigs or weaves. Zozibini faced some shade regarding her looks in August of this year, when a Twitter poll from Metro FM, a South African radio station, emerged, asking participants if she was “stunning, just ok or wrong choice.” It is not often that I see such disrespect for a country’s chosen candidate. I love that she did not let the haters get her down. Zozibini wore her own beautiful natural hair, her own skin colour, outfits that suited her body and let everyone bask in her beauty. She was so confident, elegant and sophisticated. All of her answers were well articulated and thought out. She truly embodied what an It Girl is all about.
Try, try, try again
While Zozibini was the winner of this year’s competition, her pageant journey did not start here. She competed in the 2017 Miss South Africa pageant, but placed among the top 26 contestants. Zozibini could have hung up her pageant hat and went on home. Instead, she went home, trained harder and came back stronger. I saw some of the pageant live, and will go back to see a rerun of the event. From what I saw, Zozibini’s answers were head and shoulders above the rest. What can you expect from a public relations specialist!
Celebrate the wins of our community
Black women, this is a time for all of us to celebrate. I know that each of our factions has their own issues, strife and divisions, but there are times to come together and celebrate. Today, we are all black women who come together to celebrate the success of one black woman. Why? Because, in this case, the success of one is the success of all. We must learn to be strategic. Other racial communities have unwritten hierarchies and bad blood. They may fight like cats and dogs behind closed doors, but on the world stage, they will come together and celebrate successes that benefit the collective. We ought to do the same. Every positive promotion that we get works to further cultivate and enhance the image of black women worldwide. That in itself is worth celebrating.
We are the new IT Girls
Black women are making strides like never before. We are taking all of the pageant titles. One of us is the 2019 model of the year. (I really ought to write a post about Adut Akech too.) We are some of the most recognizable names and faces in pop culture. We are in all of the commercials. Our images grace the magazine covers. 2019 was truly the year of the black woman for me.
To conclude, we at Beyond Black and White are so proud of you, Zozibini! You have become a Pink Pill muse for us. We are looking forward to your bright future. The best is yet to come. Enjoy this experience to the fullest! We are so happy for you.