Toni Ann Singh
photo: Getty Images

Beauty pageants are majorly problematic in a lot of ways, but there is something to celebrate thanks to a recent win. 

Jamaica's Toni-Ann Singh was just crowned Miss World, which means that all five of the world's top beauty pageant titles are held simultaneously by black women. This is the first time in the long history of pageants that this has occurred, and it's a big deal for diversity and representation. 

The five women are much more than their crowns, of course, and are inspiring a generation of young women and signifying positive change. Typically, pageants rewarded women with straight hair and light skin, but Miss Teen USA won this year wearing her hair in natural curls.

Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris won this year wearing her hair in its natural afro state, and no one is surprised. 

Garris is absolutely radiant, and definitely deserving of the title. Originally from Connecticut, Garris plans on obtaining a nursing degree at Southern Connecticut State University, according to the Miss Teen USA website. Plus, she's founded a nonprofit called We Are People 1st, advocating for people with disabilities.  

Garris won her crown at the Reno Tahoe pageant in April 2019. 

Garris shared a photo winning the honor, and wrote, "So this happened last night...@missusa @renotahoe #crowningmoments #RenoTahoe." Her decision to keep her afro was purposeful, and was in hopes to inspire other girls to confidently accept their natural beauty. 

Nia Franklin, the current Miss America, will crown the 2020 winner soon. 

Franklin won her crown a little over a year ago at the 2019 Miss America pageant, and only has a few days left before someone else will take over the title. "It’s been a tremendous year being your Miss America 2019. It’s been absolutely incredible to watch how God’s plans have unfolded for my life. I will crown Miss America 2020 in one week!!! Sis, get ready," Franklin shared to her Instagram. 

On the one-year anniversary of her crowning, Franklin shared a meaningful tribute. 

Originally from North Carolina, Franklin is an advocate for the arts and is a classically trained opera singer. Plus, she is a music mentor and has helped students in need learn about the arts. Franklin shared an inspirational message to her Instagram on her anniversary, "I’m going to continue dreaming big for not just for me, but this organization that I love, the fantastic women who make it what it is, and anyone out here who fights everyday to make their dreams come true."

The winner of the Miss USA pageant, which feeds into the Miss Universe pageant, is Cheslie Kryst.

Different from Miss America, Miss USA is a stepping stone to the larger pageant Miss Universe, and its current title holder is North Carolina's Cheslie Kryst. A full-time attorney, Kryst advocates for criminal justice reform works on behalf of prisoners. The Wake Forest University graduate is a former Division I athlete and competed on South Carolina's track-and-field team. 

At this year's Miss Universe pageant, Kryst joked with Steve Harvey. 

Harvey infamously named the wrong winner at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, but he's been given another chance to prove himself. Kryst and Harvey had a funny commentary at this year's show about Harvey's lack of hair. "Always got jokes lol. @iamsteveharveytv pls don’t hate me," Kryst joked in her Instagram post. 

Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa was named Miss Universe this year, and had a poignant remark about beauty standards. 

In her final response, Tunzi explained why she was the right choice for Miss Universe. "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. I think it is time that 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." 

Tunzi also made history by wearing her natural hair as she was crowned in the pageant. 

According to Allure, Tunzi was advised to wear a wig during the competition, but she didn't listen. Instead she made history as the first woman to win Miss Universe wearing her hair naturally in a cropped afro style. 

Toni Ann Singh from Jamaica just won Miss World, and rounded off the list of black queens. 

Miss World is another of the top five beauty pageants, and Singh from Jamaica is its winner. Singh tweeted after she was crowned, "To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and all the girls around the world — please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE."

Singh shared a message of gratitude on her Instagram after she won the title. 

"My heart is filled with love and gratitude. Thank you so much for believing in me. You pushed me to believe in myself. I am not only honored but humbled to be the 69th Miss World. Thank you to my family and to my friends. The love and support you poured into me now allows me to pour into the world," Singh wrote.