Brian Balthazar Hosts Miss Mississippi USA, Crowning First Black Winner In the State’s History

Miss Mississippi USA crowned its first African American winner in the organization’s 67-year history.

What an amazing night I had hosting Miss Mississippi USA in Tunica, Mississippi. First of all, I am always impressed by the women competing. They work hard on their education, spend countless hours doing public service work, and many of them have already formed their own charity initiatives before they’ve even hit 22 years old.

But this one was particularly special because Asya Branch was crowned Miss Mississippi – a beautiful, bright young woman. She will go on to compete in the Miss USA in Nevada later next year.

Branch has dedicated her platform to helping children with a parent in prison. Her own father has been incarcerated more than half of her life, and she has spent those years fighting the stigma and judgement that can come with it.

She told the Clarion Ledger in 2018, “I want to empower people all throughout our state. Not just women, but young children, young men, young adults. Just anyone, young or old, I want to leave some sort of impact in their lives.”

Here is the moment she discovered she won. And yes, that’s my voice there making the announcement!

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