Close to four million people tuned into to watch the 68th Miss Universe pageant on Sunday night and many viewers have shared their personal thoughts about some of the memorable moments including their views on Miss Jamaica’s national costume, which has sparked some controversy.
Users on social media are divided about Miss Jamaica’s, Iana Tickle Garcia’s chosen outfit for the national costume category for the pageant, with some saying that costume highlights a “negative part of the country’s history,” according to the Jamaica Observer.
The white-diamond encrusted costume reportedly pays homage to Annie Palmer, who was the 18th owner of the Rose Hall plantation, according to the site. Loop Jamaica reports photos of the outfit were posted Saturday on Facebook and Instagram with the caption:
“Annie Palmer, THE LEGEND OF ROSE HALL… Dubbed the White Witch of Rose Hall, local folk legend has it that Annie Palmer ruled the 18th-century plantation with an iron fist and drove fear in the hearts of loved ones and enemy’s alike,”
The statement goes on to say: “Her iconic home, the Rose Hall Great House is a national heritage site in Montego Bay Jamaica and still stands magnificently today after almost three hundred years as a popular visitor attraction where many claims they have spotted Annie Palmer’s ghost… Created by Uzuri International.”
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ANNIE PALMER, THE LEGEND OF ROSE HALL Dubbed the White Witch of Rose Hall, local folk legend has it that Annie Palmer ruled the 18th century plantation with an iron fist and drove fear in the hearts of loved ones and enemy’s alike. Her iconic home, the Rose Hall Great House is a national heritage site in Montego Bay Jamaica and still stands magnificently today after almost three hundred years as a popular visitor attraction where many claim they have spotted Annie Palmer’s ghost. Created by @uzuriinternational
Palmer was known as the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’ and many people are upset that the outfit was inspired by a slave owner.
Instagram user @sashapwettyface commented under the post: “@uzuriinternational only a devil will design such nonsense and want to represent someone like Annie Palmer.”
One Twitter user, @ultimate_advice on the other hand, said, that despite criticisms, Annie Palmer was a part of Jamaica’s history.
“The legend of Annie Palmer has had a significant cultural impact on Jamaica. Her story is known across the world, having been widely spread by members of the diaspora, as well as persons who have visited Rose Hall’s house. It’s a part of Jamaican History, end of discussion.”
The legend of Annie Palmer has had a significant cultural impact on Jamaica. Her story is known across the world, having been widely spread by members of the diaspora, as well as persons who have visited the Rose Hall hose. It's apart of Jamaican history end of discussion.
— Jabari Henry ♉ (@ultimate_advise) December 7, 2019
The Miss Jamaica Universe Organization made a post online justifying its decision in response to the backlash:
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JAMAICA’S MISS UNIVERSE NATIONAL COSTUME – ANNIE PALMER, THE LEGEND OF ROSE HALL. 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. As Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” It is fantastic that the costume has generated conversation as a talking point, let us now broaden the debate to focus on how we can create a kinder, more tolerant and respectful Jamaica. Iana Tickle Garcia, our reigning Miss Universe Jamaica has been viciously attacked on social media for wearing the costume, while representing the country abroad. This is unacceptable. She is at a critical time in her young life when at 19 years she has worked extremely hard at home and invested her time and efforts in arriving at Miss Universe to represent an entire country and she is now facing grueling rounds of competitive events, nonstop activities, she is deprived of sleep, away from friends and family and nowhere near a comfort zone and needs the support of the nation. But instead, she is being bashed, demonized and vilified. This is not the action of a civilized people and Iana does not deserve the abuse she has been receiving, so please let’s stop this and allow her to focus on competing and making us all proud as Jamaicans. Let’s now have that conversation… One love, Miss Universe Jamaica Organization.
The Miss Universe pageant took place in Atlanta at Tyler Perry’s Studios. Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, took the crown as Miss Universe 2019.