First Afro-Latina Michelle Colón Wins Miss Puerto Rico: “Yo Soy Negra Y Soy Una Mujer Orgullosamente Afrocaribeña”

Whether you love them or hate them, beauty pageants are still big business and there are still moments worth celebrating within the pageant world.

This week, Puerto Rico made history after crowning an Afro-Latina as the island’s Miss Universe Puerto Rico – the first Black woman to represent the island in nearly 20 years.

We have a new Miss Universe Puerto Rico and her name is Michelle Colón.

Puerto Rico has chosen a new queen to represent the island at the upcoming Miss Universe pageant. The 21-year-old pre-med student Michelle Marie Colón Ramírez has been selected against 25 other delegates from communities around the island. She easily took home the crown not only with her natural beauty, but her compassion and smarts as well.

This year’s competition was held at the Luis A. Ferré Center for Performing Arts, in San Juan, where Colón was crowned by the current reigning queen Estefanía Soto, Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2020. She represented her community of Loíza, whose residents are mostly Black Puerto Ricans.

Colón was also selected to win the “Woman of Courage” for the compassionate social work she’s been doing since she was a teenager. She’s long worked alongside the elderly, children, and other vulnerable community groups on the Island of Enchantment.

“I have no words to describe the emotion that I feel in my heart right now…I dedicate this triumph to all those brave souls who dare to dream big! For you, for me, for us,” Michelle wrote on Instagram after earning the Miss Universe Puerto Rico crown.

Her win is a big deal for the island, which has primarily crowned non-Black winners throughout the pageant’s history.

Colón is only the second Black woman to win the local title. The first was Alba Giselle Reyes when she represented the town of Cidra and obtained the title of Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2004. Her pride in her identity was evident as she took the stage as the new reigning beauty queen.

“I am a proud Afro-Caribbean woman, Afro-descendant, I am proud of my roots. And of how my parents raised me because that is precisely what makes me Michelle. The desire to represent my blood wherever I am in the world. Of course, I am black and that is why all the people of Loíza joined in this dream. Tonight I earned my title of Miss Universe Puerto Rico because of them and the pride I have in my Blackness and my roots,” she said with pride.

According to a statement to Metro, Colón said her first hours as Miss Universe Puerto Rico were spent in tears of joy for her accomplishment and what it means to her community.

“When I entered the room I began to cry because I finally made it. A dream that I had fought for and finally that I had achieved. That band and that crown reaffirmed that my purpose in life was fulfilled. That all the girls of Loíza could see that their dreams are not so big that if they set themselves a goal, their circumstances or their physique do not matter, it is what you have inside that leads you to achieve all your goals,” she said.

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