The organizers of the Miss Universe Malaysia contest also slammed the comments as “inappropriate, offensive, unacceptable and hurtful”.
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.”
Protests against systemic racism and police brutality have raged across the US since Floyd’s death, with many descending into mayhem as night falls.