Miss Jamaica’s Davina Bennett coming in at third in the recently concluded Miss Universe is truly an honour that the Jamaican people have made clear in their social media posts. With congratulations coming in from all sectors of society and from all across the world, she is certain to know the impact that she has had on girls and women –especially with that afro- that stood out among the 92 contestants.
Over the years, Jamaica’s Queens have been pushing the line of what is acceptable in these beauty pageants but recently we have become the standard bearers of challenging the beauty pageants norms. From Kaci Fennel’s cute pixie cut to the flowing dreadlocks of Dr. Sanneta Myrie, we have done what we done best as Jamaicans which is make our presence known and big up wi self. But it speaks to more than just the hype that we bring to any event that we enter in. Perhaps more important is the effect of seeing someone who isn’t copy-pasted on stage, with straightened hair and the Eurocentric standards of beauty, i.e “white”, someone that has their natural hair type can mean that listen, you can be different and still make it to our girls, especially those of colour.
Davina’s representation comes at a time when Jamaica is questioning itself of why do we celebrate other cultures and not our own? Why is Jamaica, despite being 90% black worships the weave but foams at the mouth whenever the 4C girls pull up to work? Both require significant work and investment in care so why is one preferred over the other?
As I said, I still have my complaints about pageant events. Some of their rules are if I am being nice, outdated and contradicting. This is an event to highlight the beauty and intelligence of a country by judging the physical proportions of women. Such ironclad reasoning but for this one instance, I am willing to forego the and welcome what Davina Bennett has represented to the world and that is Be You…