Asya Branch Is The First Black Miss Mississippi USA In The Pageant's 67-Year History
2019 has been a big year for Black pageant winners.
November 01, 2019 at 8:45 pm
Miss Mississippi USA crowned its first Black winner in the organization’s 67-year history, reports The Clarion-Ledger.
Asya Branch, former Miss Mississippi 2018, will wear her new crown for the 2020 season. The newspaper notes the organization selects who will represent the state in the Miss USA pageant.
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Last night, a dream came true and history was made as I was crowned the first ever African American Miss Mississippi USA. I’m ecstatic to be representing Mississippi at Miss USA! I’m so grateful for the support system that I’ve had behind me throughout this journey. Friends, family, and sponsors, I will never be able to thank you enough❤️ . . To God be the glory! ???????? Jeremiah 29:11 . . I can’t wait to begin working with @usakimig @greenwoodproductions and all of the Greenwood Production sponsors in preparation to take on the @missusa stage! ✨???? ????????Be sure to follow @missmsusa to keep up with me throughout this next chapter! . . #MissMSUSA #MissMSUSA2020 #MissMississippiUSA2020 #Mississippi #Greenwood4TheCrown #MissUniverse #MissUSA #MissTeenUSA #ConfidentlyBeautiful
Branch, of Booneville, Mississippi, graduated from the University of Mississippi, The Clarion-Ledger reports. According to one of her Instagram posts, she took courses at Harvard University when she was 17 years old.
With her new platform, Branch wants to focus on “empowering children of incarcerated parents,” the newspaper reported.
She told the Clarion-Ledger in 2018 her father has been in prison half her life.
“I am a daughter, a sister, a scholar, a community and campus leader, a nanny for a special needs child and my dad is in jail. Talk about getting the attention of a classroom full of rowdy children,” Branch said, according to her biography on the Miss America website.
“The Miss America organization has empowered me to embrace my past while helping others achieve their brightest futures. I am grateful to have the opportunity to help others realize they are not defined or doomed by the actions of others but instead can achieve successes beyond their wildest imaginations," she stated. "Our country cannot afford to ignore the aftermath of a family’s shared sentence.”
Branch will represent Mississippi in the Miss USA pageant in the spring, WMCA5 reports.
The winner of Miss USA goes on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant, The Clarion-Ledger noted.
2019 has been a major year for Black pageant winners, as Blavity previously reported. For the first time, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all Black. Last year, Miss Texas Teen USA also crowned its first Black winner.