Papua New Guinean Pageant Queen Responds To Being Called 'Black And Ugly' During Miss Heilala Festival
"I will not let one comment from a single person destroy the very good relationship that the Kingdom of Tonga and my people of Papua New Guinea have," she said.
July 12, 2019 at 7:44 pm
Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha is not letting racism stop her shine after a slur was used toward her during the Miss Heilala Festival last week.
The 19-year-old Papua New Guinea native was finishing her speech during the event when a person from the VIP booth reportedly yelled, “You’re black and ugly — disgusting!”
According to Yahoo News, while Kariha said the comment was “painful,” she shared that the moment did not negatively impact her overall experience at the pageant.
“Yes, a comment by one individual in the VIP area was made — and that is something that is never nice to hear, but has been said by one individual,” she said.
“Please also do not confuse what is going around on social media regarding the Miss Heilala (Miss Tonga) and me as Miss Pacific Islands. The support and love from the Tongan community has been overwhelming.”
Some local media outlets reported the slur came from a Tongan politician. Government and pageant officials have not commented on the allegations. Kariha posted a video on her Facebook page denying claims that a politician made the comments.
“I will not let one comment from a single person destroy the very good relationship that the Kingdom of Tonga and my people of Papua New Guinea have," Kariha said. "And there really should be no division amongst Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians, we should be one united Pacific."