Anyone with even the littlest form of social consciousness will understand that model and pageant queen, Zozibini Tunzi winning the 2019 Miss Universe title is a statement on black women’s beauty. The previous Miss South Africa is the third woman from the county to win the title, and the first black woman since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011.
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I wish I was able to respond to each and everyone but it’s impossible. I want to thank you all so much for the lovely messages and support. I knew I had my country standing with me on that stage and it is evident in every kind word you have said to me. And to my new family, from all around the world, I thank you too for your well wishes and love❤️
Since winning the crown, Tunzi has spoken openly and passionately about issues that affect black women all around the world, including colourism and racism. On December 18, the budding global star made an appearance on The Daily Show with host, Trevor Noah, where she revealed, “I first won [Miss South Africa] and then I got a lot of comments where people said, ‘Oh, is this the one this year? She’s so underwhelming’. I got other comments like, ‘She’s a downgrade from the others that we’ve had’ – and this was only from people in my country.”
Tunzi also shares a story of an offensive comment on her social media page, where a follower wrote, “Woah, this photo is so black. It’s as black as you are Miss Black Ugly South Africa.” She says, “In that moment, I thought: I’m not even mad; it just shows [what] society has labelled beauty to be. We’ve been programmed to look at beauty that way – the further you are from being fair, the uglier you are.”
Being that the new Miss Universe also wears her natural hair, she reveals she got a significant amount of negative responses. When host, Noah asks why she didn’t opt for hair extensions or choose to straighten her natural hair, Tunzi simply responds, “Because this is my hair! That’s the first [answer] I give people.”