Miss Universe Jamaica Organization Tries To Defend Costume Named After A Slave Owner | Style

Miss Universe aired last night with Miss South Africa claiming the grand prize in a touching, tear-filled moment. However, the event wasn’t without controversy. Iana Tickle Garcia, 19, who was representing Jamaica, was wearing a dress named  Annie Palmer – Legend of Rose Hall. Only problem is, Annie Palmer is a murderous slave owner.

Known as the “White Witch of Rose Hall,”  Annie married John Palmer, who owned the Rose Hall plantation. Annie supposedly murdered Palmer, two other husband and several enslaved men. She was then murdered by another enslaved person on the plantation. As Jamaican legend has it, she supposedly haunts the Rose Hall Plantation, which is near Montego Bay.

Therefore, some people were disturbed that an outfit — worn by a woman of color — would be named after Annie Palmer. See the tweet below from Rose Hall.

Miss Universe Jamaica is doubling down on the outfit. Accoridng to Jamaica Observer, they released the following statement, “With this year’s costume, we never sought to glorify slavery, nor promote witchcraft or any of the folk tales Annie Palmer has been accused of, instead, what we sought to do, as have the pantomimes, books and articles written about her, was to just tell the story of another part of Jamaican history without endorsing, glorifying or celebrating her deeds or the atrocities of slavery.”

The statement claimed it was a teachable moment “especially those who have no interest in history taught the traditional way”.

The statement continued, “Obviously, we have succeeded in this mission, as more people are now talking about this aspect of Jamaican history and we hope they will now be motivated to engage in further research in the topic to have a greater understanding of our past.”

Garcia was much more emotional on Twitter, writing, “I am mortified at the fact that anything I have  done would ever be taken as anything but grateful and appreciative of my home or heritage.”

She also added, “I am deeply saddened that something I said in the past to celebrate my unique heritage would ever be taken as me discrediting one side of that heritage. I have always been proud to be a true representation of our motto out of many one people.”

In other news, for the first time in history Miss America (Nia Franklin), Miss USA (Cheslie Kryst), Miss Teen USA (Kaliegh Garris) and now Miss Universe, (Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa) are all titles held by Black women.

Black girls truly rock.

Photo: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Endeavor

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