Jamaican-American Gabrielle Wilks is Miss Black Virginia USA 2020. A resident of Douglasville, Georgia, Ms. Wilks was born in Brooklyn, New York to family from Kentish, St. Catherine, Jamaica. She is a senior and presidential scholar pursuing a double major in biology and mathematics at Virginia State University and was named Outstanding Sophomore of the Year in 2018. She served as the president of the 2018-2019 Student Government Association and represented Virginia State University at the Goldman Sachs HBCU Leadership Summit in New York.
At VSU, Ms. Wilks has been a uniting figure, focusing on civic engagement and community involvement. Her pioneering “Annual Women’s Tea” gives young women an opportunity to focus on the importance of determining their personal brand and embracing purpose through fellowship over food, games, giveaways, etiquette advice and guest speakers. She also established the first VSU “Men’s Appreciation Week,” focusing on important priorities for young men to emphasize their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.
Ms. Wilks will represent Virginia at the Miss Black USA Pageant in August 2020 in Washington, D.C. In 2016, Tonille Simone Watkis became the first Jamaican-American to be crowned Miss Black USA.
The Miss Black USA Organization is the first and oldest scholarship pageant for women of color, awarding over $500,000 in scholarships. The pageant empowers women to own their power and celebrates their unique talents, traits and beauty. Miss Black USA defines her own standard of beauty and celebrates the whole women, mind, body and spirit, all shades of brown, hair texture and size. Miss Black USA is a non-profit corporation headquartered in the state of Maryland.