Pageants often get a bad rap for being regressive leftovers from a different time. While some of that criticism is fair, the organizations that run them have made changes in recent years to become more modern. (Case and point: the elimination of the swimsuit competition at Miss America.) And there’s no question that their reach is still enormous, with competitions running in all 50 states and in countries around the world.
Now, for the first time ever, the titles for Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe are held by black women. Last night, the newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, joined Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris.