Brianna Mason just made history in the state of Tennessee, becoming the first Black woman to win the Miss Tennessee scholarship pageant on Saturday night (June 29).
WATE reports that the victory serves as Mason’s ticket to the Miss America competition later this year.
The Miss America competition is separate from the Miss USA pageant system, which consists of Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe.
Mason is just the latest to set a precedent as a winner of a U.S.-related beauty pageant. For the first time ever, the reigning Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all Black women.
This year’s trio of national winners are Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, a civil litigation lawyer who does pro bono work for prisoners, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, an opera singer and arts advocate and Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garris who is known for defying critics by competing with her natural hair.
Beauty pageants date back to the 1920s, but most banned women of color from participating. Within the past 50 years, Black women have seen higher participation rates in national pageants. Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to win Miss America in 1983.
Carole Anne-Maria Gist was the first Black woman to be crowned Miss USA in 1990 and a year later, Janel Bishop became the first Black Miss Teen USA.
Congrats Brianna! Watch video of her winning this year’s Miss Tennessee below.
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