Miss World Deserves Better Than Florida State's Twitter

She is beauty, she is grace, she is Miss Toni-Ann Singh, an alumnus of Florida State.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, at the Excel Centre in London, Singh was crowned as the 69thwinner of the Miss World competition. This feat was only compounded by the fact that the other four major beauty pageants (Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss America, and Miss Teen USA) had also crowned black women. Singh winning the Miss World title was not only years in the making for her, but centuries in the making for women of color across the world. 

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Singh tweeted:

Courtesy: @toniannsingh Twitter

To also celebrate this moment, the official Florida State University Twitter retweeted this:

Courtesy: @floridastate Twitter

At the moment, this was acceptable. I was so elated about the representation of both Florida State and women of color that I paid the retweet no mind. After hearing the news, I instead spent the next few minutes liking, retweeting and posting anything I could find that was remotely related to Singh’s win. And then I forgot about it. Until this tweet by the FSU account:

Courtesy: @floridastate Twitter

And then I thought to myself, “Why didn’t FSU tweet, scream and shout when Singh won Miss World? After all, isn’t that the largest achievement that any beauty pageant competitor could hope to accomplish?” I wasn’t the only one affected by this tweet.

Courtesy: @LouisMyyLove Twitter

Courtesy: @brriitney Twitter

And in response to someone noting the previously mentioned retweet:

Courtesy: @deanne­_tashaa Twitter

It seems that most of the outrage stems from a simple fact— when a black woman won a global pageant competition, she got a retweet. A local caucasian woman who hasn’t even competed for Miss Florida USA yet gets a regular tweet. Even if the FSU Twitter didn’t mean to, they sent a message to their audience.

Florida State loves to boast about its strides in diversity and inclusion. According to an article FSU wrote, the school has been recognized as a Diversity Champion by the INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for four consecutive years and also offers a Diversity and Inclusion certificate to “assist in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus for all”. In the same article, Renisha Gibbs, a chief diversity officer at the school, says that FSU works to make sure that everyone feels “welcome and valued” on campus. As a student of color, it’s hard to feel “welcome and valued” when an FSU alumnus that I highly respect wasn’t given as high of regard as another on one of the only mediums that I receive FSU news from— the official Twitter account for Florida State University.

Less than seven hours later, the FSU Twitter tweeted this:

Courtesy: @floridastate Twitter

But it was too late. Again, a message was already sent.

Miss World deserves better than Florida State’s Twitter. Many things could have been to prevent or lessen the backlash the account received. The school account could have:

  1. Posted an original tweet about Miss Singh as soon as they saw the news.
  2. Instead of using the abbreviation ICYMI, In Case You Missed It, as a caption with the retweet (which implies that it was something students didn’t realize happened), the account could have, honestly recognized the achievement Miss Singh accomplished and that they were late on the bandwagon.
  3. Posted an original tweet about Miss Singh as soon as they saw the news.

There isn’t just one person to blame for this incident. Maybe whoever who running the account at the moment was in a hurry when they saw the news, or maybe they weren’t. Maybe somebody close to the FSU Twitter account made sure that Miss Tallahassee, Hannah Kelsey, would be recognized on the account. Maybe it has nothing to do with the Twitter account itself and everything to do with Florida State as an institution. Whichever it is, I still am overwhelmingly proud of Miss Toni-Ann Singh and I hope that Florida State takes the steps necessary to avoid a social media incident like this again.

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