Zimbabwe has crowned a white woman and native of Harare as Miss Universe Zimbabwe 2023, sparking controversy and debate online, Atlanta Black Star reported Friday.
Brooke Bruk-Jackson, a 21-year-old model, is now set to represent the African country at the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, scheduled for Nov. 18. The newly-crowned Miss Universe Zimbabwe’s runner-ups were Black women, Amanda Mpofu and Nokutenda Marumbwa. Following her win on Sept. 16, Bruk-Jackson expressed her commitment to representing Zimbabwe internationally and showcasing the country’s uniqueness, according to Atlanta Black Star.
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Following the announcement, social media users expressed outrage, believing a Black woman should have been crowned, given that the share of the non-Black population in Zimbabwe is roughly two percent. The backlash led Bruk-Jackson to deactivate comments on her victory post on Instagram, but criticism continued on other posts. In response, she emphasized that skin color should not define a person or their associations, the outlet noted.
Critics on social media expressed disappointment, with comments such as “Extremely tragic and disappointing,” and “My ancestors rolling in they graves!!!!” (RELATED: Biological Man Wins ‘Miss Netherlands’ Beauty Pageant Competition)
Zimbabwe isn’t the only country where a woman from a minority racial group won a national beauty contest. Despite people of African descent making up a little over one percent of Germany’s population, all three top winners of Germany’s Next Top Model 2023 beauty pageant were Black women, according to Remix News.
— Anabel Schunke (@ainyrockstar) June 16, 2023
“I think it’s fantastic that Vivien was the first curvy model to become Germany’s next top model,” Kerstin Schneider, the editor-in-chief of the German edition of Harper’s Bazaar, said at the time about the winning model.
More than 90 countries are expected to participate in the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, which will be televised from El Salvador this fall.