JSU senior competing in national pageant plans to use her platform to empower, uplift

Jaelah Wright-Keely  (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

Jaelah Wright-Keely (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

RJT Byline

Jackson State University senior Jaelah Wright-Keely was recently named Miss Black Mississippi US Ambassador by the Miss Black US Ambassador Scholarship Organization.

“I was super excited. Honestly, the feeling was indescribable. I didn’t think I would receive the title,” Keely said upon learning the news.

Next summer, she will travel to Atlanta to compete among 53 other “Miss State Ambassadors” all vying for an opportunity to take home the national title.

Because Mississippi does not have a state director for the pageant, Keely was selected through an application process.

According to a press release, the Miss Black US Ambassador and Miss Black Teen US Ambassador Scholarship Pageant LLC, in partnership with the GE Institute Foundation Inc., exists to give a once in a lifetime opportunity for young African-American women to serve as an ambassador of change and to encourage, empower and enlighten, communities, states and nations.

“During my reign as Miss Black Mississippi US Ambassador, I will be hosting community events geared toward my platform Route 365 which stands for rejuvenating opportunities to uplift, transcend and enhance lives 365 days a year,” Keely announced.

Not wanting to enter a pageant that solely focused on looking good, the senior said she desired to work with an organization that was community centered and made a positive impact on the world.



The honor student further stated that she would like to improve the state of Mississippi by spotlighting the importance of black and environmental ownership.

“We need to truly understand the significance of keeping our money circulating in our communities. We should embrace our people and build each other up so that we can thrive,” she urged.

Keely described African American’s as brilliant people, but “we are more willing to spend our money elsewhere and support other people instead of our own.”

Eventually, the chemistry major would like to be a cosmetic chemist and start a fully-functional, research-driven cosmetic company that develops top-tier beauty products specifically for African-American women.

“I’ve always had a creative side, but I also have an analytical side. Originally, I wanted to do something in fashion, but that didn’t pan out, so I started getting involved in makeup, and that’s how I nurtured my creativity,” she said.

A native of St. Louis, Keely’s grandfather was born in the capital city. But, her first visit to the hospitality state stemmed from her interest in attending JSU. Since enrolling at the University,  a strong bond has developed between her and her extended family.

Keely goes on to divulge that she has an equal passion for her hometown and Mississippi. Recalling her feelings when she stepped on the campus of the HBCU nearly four years ago, she said: “I immediately fell in love. It felt like a second home like I was supposed to be here.”