The Army reserve officer looked stunning in a form-fitting yellow gown, but all eyes were on her hair, which she wore in its natural state. In a pre-recorded segment, Barber revealed that she wore her hair in honor of her mother, who recently died, AZ Central reported.
It didn’t take long for Twitter to send words of praise and support Barber’s way.
As if the moment weren’t inspiring enough, Barber passed the crown to Kara McCullough ― also from District of Columbia, also a black woman, also wearing her natural hair.
McCullough told Refinery29 she made the choice to reflect the traditional pageant’s changing and modernizing ideals. “I decided to embrace what made me feel comfortable, embrace what makes me feel the best and brightest onstage,” she said. “But also embrace what other people can relate to, so that typical, traditional sleek hair, big tease, not to say it’s gone out the window, but it’s transitioning a lot.”
The powerful visual of these two women sharing the special moment onstage garnered even more celebration on social media.
Tonight made history, indeed.