When you look for Jamaica on the map, you’ll see a pretty small island situated in the Caribbean Sea. Jamaica actually has about 3 million people living on the island, yet Jamaicans continue to leave an unforgettable impact on the world.
Jamaica gave us Reggae music, Bob Marley, some of the best food (think jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish), the fastest man in the world, then the fastest woman in the world and now recently, Miss World 2019.
On November 14th, 2019 the world embraced Jamaican Toni-Ann Singh and crowned her Miss World 2019, making this Jamaica’s 4th win. It was not only a proud moment for Jamaicans everywhere but Black folks all over the world.
Singh shared this profound moment with the world when she tweeted:
‘To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world – please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE.’
Toni-Ann mentioned St. Thomas which is the parish of her birth. Jamaica has 14 parishes and the one Toni-Ann comes from is what Jamaicans call ‘country’ (rural) and is also known for its rich historical value. Unlike the capital city of Jamaica, St. Thomas has fewer businesses and is relatively underdeveloped.
It is the birthplace of one of Jamaica’s national heroes, Paul Bogle, who on October 11, 1865, led over 200 black men and women into the town of Morant Bay, Jamaica, in protest of injustice, poverty, lack of voting rights, high poll taxes, and the conduct of police. Additionally, the infamous Morant Bay Rebellion took place in St. Thomas.
Some of the island’s best attractions are found here such as Reggae Falls, Bath Fountain, Lyssons Beach and Blue Mountains.
St. Thomas preserves the older parts of the Jamaican character. It is not uncommon to see people telling you ‘good morning/evening’ as they pass by. Toni-Ann actually migrated from Jamaica to the USA at age 9 years old. Yet, her Jamaican heart stays true to this day as was evident in her overall presentations at the Miss World 2019.
Toni-Ann holds a degree in women’s studies and psychology from Florida State University. She clearly understands the challenges women of color face. Throughout her experience that was shared with the world, she mentioned several times of using the platform Miss World would give to her to motivate women everywhere. In her tweet, she humbly stated that this crown is not for her but girls everywhere and she means it. Her win represents that any girl from any country can live their dreams, can come out victorious, can win. That’s why Toni-Ann’s crowning resonates so much with the world.
But it was not just her earning the title. It was also Miss Nigeria’s enthusiastic support of her that took the spotlight. Though Miss Nigeria was not awarded any of the three spots, she jumped for joy like she won the title herself.
It was a tear-jerking moment not only seeing an islander win but another black woman supporting her and leaving a lesson with the world that sisters are rising in victory, unity and strength.