Chanda Branch, Ms. Black USA 2019
Chanda is an alumnus of Tennessee State University, with a B.S. in Speech Communications & Theatre including Teaching Certification. Leadership and civic engagement were instilled in her as core values at a young age in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida and she remains committed to those concepts as she helps to build the community in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mrs. Branch was appointed to the City of Raleigh Arts Commission in 2014. She served as the Chair of the Grants Committee which oversees the distribution of municipal funding for arts partners and as the Vice Chair of the Commission for two years before becoming the first black woman to serve as Chair.
Formerly Mrs. Black North Carolina USA, Chanda Branch earned the national title in a competition held on August 10 at the University of the District of Columbia. Pageant categories included personal fitness, talent, evening gown and on-stage question as well as an opening dance number.
Branch has more than 10 years as a career educator, more than 20 years as a performer on stage and screen and is an advocate for equity and inclusion for people of color and those with disabilities in the arts.
"I want the world to know that Black Girl Magic is real, but there is also Black Woman Magic. Mature women are finding remarkable ways of uplifting their communities in this nation. Not to mention they are doing it with while maintaining spouses, careers, children, and responsibilities that stretch far beyond themselves.", Branch said, "Black women have always shouldered the demands society has placed on them, and I want to be an example of how we do it with grace and style."
Chanda's platform as Ms. Black USA 2019 was inspired by one of her passions: engaging youth and communities of color in the arts for civic change and social justice. Often, the ability to pay for lessons and everything else associated with training is a barrier for those who have great talent, but do not have vast resources. This excludes certain groups from participating fully in the arts on many levels. Some targets of her #stARTstrong platform include engaging young people in high quality, pre-professional training, exposing communities of color to experiences with a wide range of art forms and cultures, and exploring lucrative and fulfilling careers in the arts. She will travel the united states presenting workshops to help communities preserve, honor, and share their stories through art as well as conduction talent searches and providing information and resources for youth seeking professional careers in the arts.