A Malaysian beauty queen has apologised after her comments that black people should "relax" in response to raging US protests against police racism sparked an online outcry, including condemnation from "Crazy Rich Asians" actor Henry Golding.
Samantha Katie James, who represented Malaysia in the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in the US, posted on Instagram this week: "To the black people, relax, take it as a challenge, makes you stronger.
"You chose to be born as a 'colored' person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson."
More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the 25-year-old to be stripped of her Miss Universe Malaysia crown, which she won in 2017, before competing internationally.
As anger mounted late Tuesday, James posted an apology."I do hear you, I'm sorry, I know you're hurting. I'm not in your shoes to fully understand this," she said.
Responding to her comment that black people "chose to be black", she added: "Throughout my journey I have learned that we are more than just this temporary physical body, like an avatar, merely a tiny speck of dust in this vast infinite universe, we tend to overlook that from time to time.
"In our process towards evolution as a human being, on earth. We chose our body, our family, our place of birth, our name and our lessons from the path we take tailor made for us."