Leila Lopes is 4th black woman in the world to win Miss Universe title

Leila Lopes, 25 years old, stands 5’10″ and this year's Miss Universe, is a stunningly beautiful black woman. She was born on February 26, 1986 to Cape Verdean immigrants in Benguela, Angola in West Africa.

Lopes is a business management student in Great Britain, where she was crowned Miss Angola UK on October 8, 2010. The victory caused protests within the Angolan community in Britain because she was not a resident of the UK, which made her ineligible to join the pageant.

She won in the Miss Angola pageant held on December 18, 2010 in Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, the capital and largest city of Angola, gaining the right to represent her country in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant.

She was crowned as Miss Universe 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil on September 12, 2011. Lopes is the first Angolan Miss Universe, the 60th titleholder, the fourth African and the 4th black woman in the world to win the title.

The other African women who previously bagged the title were Margaret Gardiner of South Africa in 1978, Michelle McLean of Namibia in 1992 and Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana in 1999.

The other black women who have won the Miss Universe pageant were Miss Trinidad & Tobago - Janelle Commisiong (1977); Miss Trinidad & Tobago- Wendy Fitzwilliam (1998); and Miss Botswana - Mpule Kwegalobe (1999). [Thanks Glenn Capcap]

Here are some of the obvious reasons why some people believed that the pageant was (sort of) political, why Lopes was a heavy crowd favorite and why many in the audience were sensitive when it comes to religion.

Angola is a former Portuguese colony; most citizens there are well-versed in Portuguese and Lopes talked Portuguese more than once during the pageant, not just in the Question and Answer portion.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal from 1500 until 1815. Portugal was present in Angola for 400 years, occupied the territory in the 19th and early 20th century, and ruled over it for about 50 years. As a consequence, Angola and Portugal share cultural aspects such as language and main religion which is Roman Catholic.

Reference: Wikipedia.org