Miss South Africa wins Miss Universe - It's a big deal but shouldn't be
As we round up this history making decade, society as well the beauty industry, have are implemented laws to protect the rights of people with natural black hairstyles. An intelligent strong black woman won one of the most sought after crowns. This is everything but really shouldn't be.
Miss Universe is a well know vanity competition created to sooth our obsession with the female body, looks and likability. It's a cash cow that brings in ca $3M annually and is more or less franchised in most countries around the globe. The standard winners are undeniably those who follows the norm of what we in society has deemed as most beautiful. Meaning a tall, slender, long haired woman with a perfect Colgate smile usually wins. Of course this woman is also white, didn't think I had to mention that. But what happens when for the first time in history, a black women is the crowned winner of various franchises of the said competition? Is it just a coincidence or a sign that a change is just around the corner?
Last night Zozibini Tunzi, Miss South Africa won the most established competition, making her this years Miss Universe winner and the internet has not been absent in support of the new queen. I'm here for it, all of it. But what I'm not here for is the lack of awareness of the racist structures in the organization that has been under no criticism by the major news outlets as far as I can see. It is as if we forgot that change can only be real and long lasting if the core is shook as well and the roots are replanted. We also seem to have forgotten who was the main owner of the competition for years, a man whose standards and morals is highly questionable.
I would like to celebrate with an easy heart but I'm prohibited by the need to know what is done in the organization both internally and as in terms of demands towards their international franchises. Will we see a diversity within the board? A guideline of how to operate and execute the competition or a change in their code of conduct? I doubt it. I doubt that any of it will take place or even be addressed at their next board meeting and therefore it's crucial, that we as a consumer of their products, put our foot down and demand the change even the winner is asking for.
"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 that it is time that that stops today." /Zozibini Tunzi
In the country where I am from (Sweden), there is a lot of work that needs to be made, a lot. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that a good friend and former model of mine was called the n-word as she competed in the same competition few years back. Yes, whilst walking the runway a young girl was called the most hideous things by grown men and no one, but me, said or did a thing. It is the reality we face and the legacy this decade has left us with in Scandinavia. I'm glad the American versions are giving us a sweeter taste of the story, giving us not one but four queens of rich melanin blessed skin and natural hairstyles to set the tone.
"And that is what we should be teaching these young girls - to take up space." /Zozibini Tunzi