Black Girl Magic X 3
I’m pretty sure we’ve all been waiting for this moment; not just the crowning of the beautiful African American women in three major beauty pageants, but for America to finally realize the actual magic us black women possess.
The 2019 winners of the major beauty pageants: Miss USA – Cheslie Kryst of NC, Miss Teen USA – Kaliegh Garris of CT and Miss America – Nia Franklin of NY, all had an outstanding performance, as well as successful accomplishments throughout their careers.
Twitter and Instagram overflowed with comments regarding the natural (chemical free) hair both Cheslie Kryst and Kaliegh Garris embraced. “There were a few naysayers saying, ‘You look better with straight hair,’ or ‘You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair,” said Garris to Refinery29.
Being an African American woman who has not ‘relaxed’ or straightened her hair in today’s society, it is easy to feel slightly out of place in corporate settings and in attendance of events requiring ‘formal’ attire while rocking our natural curls.
Luckily, with our “innovative” millennials stated by Kryst in her outstanding answer to the Final Question during Miss USA regarding hashtags #metoo and #timesup, “that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength and empowered women, I am looking forward to continued progress with my generation” reminds us that soon, we will all feel just as ‘appropriate’ as anyone else in the room; curls and all.
Miss America winner, Nia Franklin, reminds us that Hip-Hop, R&B, and Rap are not the only categories of music African American’s can master. As she serenades us with Opera La Boheme’s Quando Men Vo, we believed her. Nia’s vocals gave us chills as she sang and twirled angelically on stage in her red gown.
Don’t let their pretty faces fool you.
All three of these women have accomplished goals most only dream of. Twenty-Eight (28) year old Cheslie Kryst from Charlotte, NC is an attorney who graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law and currently represents prison inmates for free. In 2016, she competed in the “Rock the Runway” design competition and fundraiser sponsored by Goodwill. “The audience in the show voted for the clothing lines they liked the best. My line of evening wear made out of clothes purchased from Goodwill won!” Kryst states in her White Collar Glam blog.
During the Miss America Pageant, Nia Franklin (25 years) was asked by judge number 3, Laila Ali, “How has being a candidate from NY prepared you for the job as Miss America?” Without hesitation, Nia Franklin, who is actually from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and has only resided in New York for about a year, proves herself a true New-Yorker as she stated, “I have NY grit” and followed up by including she “understands what it means to work hard”.
Miss Teen USA winner, Kaliegh Garris who is only 18 years old, was asked about her time as a counselor at an Eco- Friendly camp. She responded by stating most children in the area she resides aren’t familiar with outdoor activities prior to enrolling in the camp. The activities she motioned included both kayaking and swimming, which she stated was “a lot of fun to see them try new things.”
Need I say more?
These women are a great representation of what we have been working hard for over the years.
In 1984, Vanessa Williams was crowned as the first African American to win Miss America. Less than a year after her crowning, Williams was forced to resign her title because of controversial images published by Penthouse. It is said that she told People the moment her crown was taken from her, it had to be the lowest point in her life. In 2016, Williams served as the head judge in Miss America where she received an apology from Sam Haskel, CEO of Miss America pageant, apologizing to Vanessa and her mother, Helen, for anything that was said or done that made her feel “any less than the Miss America” she was.
Despite society’s up brawl during the turn of events, Williams continued to embody excellence as she took on prominent roles in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, to name a few.
Although the 2019 pageant winners were not the first to win their titles while being African American (in fact DC’s very own Kara McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017), the fact that all three major beauty pageants recognized their greatness in such a close time frame is record.
“Glass ceilings can be broken wearing either a skirt or pants,” Cheslie Kryst.