Over the weekend, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World. Her win put an exclamation point on the 2019 pageant circuit because, for the first time ever, Black women now hold five crowns in top beauty contests.
With the 23-year-old Florida State University grad’s victory in the London pageant, Singh joined Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garris. Each woman plans to tackle substantive issues and with like prison reform, gender-based violence, as well as working in the medical and education field while addressing conventional beauty standards that have only benefited white women.
After being crowned, Singh addressed that “little girl in St. Thomas” and girls around the world in a touching Instagram post:
“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.
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My Jamaica, sweet Jamaica🇯🇲we did it! Wah we seh? LIKKLE BUT WE TALLAWAH. 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. My mother @jahrinebailey, I love you I love you I love you. I wish to become even half the woman you are. You are my strength, my number one supporter/cheerleader/fan and my absolute best friend. _____________________________________________________________ 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. It’s for you to truly understand that no matter where you’re from and the cards you’re dealt in life – your dreams are valid. You have a PURPOSE. _____________________________________________________________ To the @missjamaicaworld franchise, thank you for taking a chance on me and leading the way. I wouldn’t have accomplished my dream without your efforts. To @hon.oliviagrange, you held my hand and lifted my head up high. I could not have reached this far without you. To the @missworld franchise – I am willing and ready to do the work; to officially be the face that represents the core of Miss World – Beauty with a Purpose. _____________________________________________________________ And last but of course not least, thank you GOD. Thank you for allowing me to walk the path towards my purpose. My heart is full🇯🇲💛💚🖤 One Love.
Whether this fantastic trend continues in the pageant world that has been historically plagued with racism, segregation, and gender stereotyping remains to be seen. But it’s a step in the right direction for significant beauty competitions. Recently pageants have begun to focus more on what contestants do off the stage, highlighting and emphasizing accomplishments and charity work rather than just physical beauty.
Just last year, the Miss America Organization announced it will no longer have a swimsuit competition. Well, it’s about damn time the pageant world for finally realized what we knew for a long time, that Black women are the sugar honey iced tea.
Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / Getty