Abena Appiah used fashion to make a serious political statement while securing the title of Miss Grand International 2020. See the beauty pageant winner’s BLM-inspired gown that’s going viral!
Appiah was already breaking barriers as the first African-American to represent the United States in the Miss Grand International pageant. However, the 27-year-old beauty queen decided to make the occasion more monumental by bringing awareness to the issues of social injustice.
“I am basically trying to tell people that even though there’s so much corruption and hate crimes in our society if we come together as one — we can all be equal,” she explained to Yahoo Life about her eye-catching gown worn during the National Costume segment of the competition.
Competing with 62 other beauty queens, Appiah secured a crown on March 27th with her head held high—despite reportedly being told to “just give up” because of her “complexion” and “type of hair.”
Not only did she secure the prestigious title, but she also became a social media sensation with her custom gown— featuring portraits of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and more.
“There [are] so many things happening — especially in the [United] States. Recently, the whole issue with George Floyd and police brutality, now there’s so much hate on Asian lives — it’s just so much going on,” she shared with the news outlet. “I decided to use my platform to be able to create awareness about issues that are important to me. Usually, [that] platform — you don’t use it for that. [Most people] use that platform to exhibit something in your country that is fascinating, so maybe somebody might do the Statue of Liberty or the American Eagle, but I decided to portray Black Lives Matter.”
She continued, “With my costume, if you look at it, the black side has the names of those that are fallen, so I’m shedding light on the issues that happened. And then when you open the costume up, it talks about peace and unity. Two fists come together and they hold each other to form the unity bond. I am basically trying to tell people that even though there’s so much corruption and hate crimes in our society if we come together as one — we can all be equal.”
Although the Black Lives Matter-inspired gown inspired many, others were reportedly not too pleased with the statement-making moment.
“A lot of people didn’t take it right and a lot of people were saying bad things and bashing me about it,” she confessed. “But at the end of the day, I was happy because … I was able to make a difference.”
Appiah is currently in the process of building a YouTube “geared towards uplifting young women of color and giving them the tools she gained during her journey through the pageantry world.”
We look forward to learning what’s next for Miss Grand United States of America 2020!