Janae Campbell, 19, gave a brief history lesson on Saturday on her way to being crowned Miss Tobago Heritage Personality 2021. Campbell of Roxborough Police Youth Club paid tribute to her ancestors in the Q&A segment as she advised Tobagonians to be resilient during the pandemic.
The Tobago Youth Council president exuded poise and grace throughout the pageant but it was her knowledge of history and articulate response that won her the Ms Intelligence award, and the overall title.
Asked by the moderator what aspects of our traditions and heritage have prepared her to cope with the current economic and social challenges, Campbell recalled the Belmanna Riots of 1876 in Roxborough, where former slaves set fires at the Roxborough estate in protest against the harsh working conditions and socio-economic constraints which still existed post-emancipation.
"The spirit of the ancestors is one of resilience – this resilience is what has equipped me...
"When one researches the history, they would realise our ancestors resisted their oppressive forces, they overcame their challenges, and it is this resilient spirit that we all need to exhibit," she said.
Asked about her response on Sunday, Campbell told Newsday, "Honestly speaking, I believe it is a miracle. I can't explain it myself. It was just a privilege for me to answer that way.
"During the competition period I was well prepared and researched. I know I'm going up for the Miss Tobago Heritage Personality and you will have to know elements of your own history. So that motivated me to do a lot of research, so I had a lot of knowledge of Tobago and my own village. It was easy for me to make that link."
Campbell said she intends to make an impact in Roxborough and wider Tobago during her reign.
"I intend to give back to the village of Roxborough in some way. I know they would not have won a Miss Tobago Heritage Personality, so I know for them it's like history. I'm going to endeavour in some charitable initiatives. Most likely I'm gonna partner with the Roxborough Police Youth Club in beautifying either the courthouse where the riots took place, because it's a bit dilapidated right now, and/or the Deadwood Park in Roxborough.
"Apart from giving back to my community, I want my reign to be meaningful. I intend to push content geared towards advertising Tobago's culture similar to what they used in the Discover series. I intend to reach out to Tobago Festivals Commission and/or TPAC (Tobago Performing Arts Company)."
Campbell said celebration of her victory was low-key as her mother is a nurse and is "very covid-conscious," but she plans to "do something fun" this week.
For her victory, Campbell will receive $10,000 and a $25,000 scholarship sponsored by First Citizens.
Miss Tobago Heritage Personality results:
1. Janae Campbell (Roxborough Police Youth Club)
2. Nalia Taitt (Buccoo Village Council)
3. Kiana Jones (Pembroke)
4. Cassidy Rasheed (Zante Dance Company)
5. Aaliyah Tobias (Parlatuvier)
Ms Intelligence – Janae Campbell
Ms Amity – Zanewka Morrison
Ms Photogenic – Cassidy Rasheed
Best Talent – Nalia Taitt
Best Gown Portrayal – Kiana Jones
Best Designer – Ronald Guy James (for Janae Campbell)