African American Student at the University of Mississippi Wins Miss USA Crown

Asya Branch, a senior at the University of Mississippi majoring in integrated marketing communications, was the winner of the Miss USA pageant recently held in Memphis, Tennessee. She was the first African American to win the title of Miss Mississippi and the first woman from Mississippi to wear the Miss USA crown. As Miss USA she will compete for the title of Miss Universe 2021.

“I’m a naturally positive person who tries to shed light and make a difference everywhere I go,” Branch said. “I want to encourage people to uplift one another. Together, we can change our country for the better.”

Her platform involves empowering children of parents who are in prision. Branch’s father has been in prison since she was 10 years old.

“Being a child with an incarcerated parent takes a negative toll, with the stigmas that surround it,” Branch said. “There’s emotional distress, financial instability and so many questions about why a parent isn’t there.”

Related Articles


  1. Congrats to Asya. I certainly hope Asya use the “Miss USA” platform to address the ongoing and abject poverty in the Mississippi Delta region and specifically native born Black Mississippian’s.

  2. In my lifetime, America has changed from a society that made it impossible for a black woman to win a national beauty pageant to a society where it is unusual for a white woman to win a national beauty pageant.

    Is that the best we can do?

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs