Reigning Queen 2019-2020: Hawa Ceesay

Hawa Ceesay is a lady whose vibrant character radiates through her countenance upon meeting her. Her upbringing spans two countries, as she was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  At the age of two, she was sent to the smiling coast of West Africa, where she was raised by her grandmother in Gambia. She lived in Gambia for the next 12 years of her life, before returning to the United States. During this time, she faced many daily hardships and witnessed many challenges in her community. However, she was surrounded by many joyous people who helped her overcome those hardships and also helped shape her optimistic character.  These experiences have further led her to become a woman who is motivated to do her best at everything she does. 

Today, Hawa is a warm and welcoming person to everybody she meets. She currently a Senior at the University of Memphis, where she is majoring in journalism. Her interest in journalism began during her time in high school, where she had the opportunity to broadcast the morning announcements. During this time, she was also awakened to the media’s power, and its ability to influence minds. Her awakening came from noticing how many of her peers had false preconceptions about Africa, due to what they saw in the media about the continent. It was with this experience that she knew she had to do something to help bring better representation to people of different nationalities and underrepresented issues.

As a result, Hawa is a news anchor at her university, and aspires to host her own TV show one day. She hopes that her show would draw attention to the importance of cultural diversity while bringing attention to humanitarian crises that the mass media fails to cover and preserving the dignity of those whose stories she shares. Hawa is the former president of the African student association where she makes it a priority to educate the student body and community about the rich cultural heritage of Africa. Hawa is currently the president of the National Association of Black Journalist chapter at the University of Memphis, providing quality programs and services to advocate on behalf of black journalists.


To further put her passion into practice, Hawa currently devotes her Friday afternoons to mentoring high school students, where she educates the students about different cultures, the importance of cultural diversity, and bigger issues around the world mass media fails to display. She believes in the power of the mind and its ability to bring change to humanity. 

Hawa’s platform is call “Africa Untold,” changing he dark narrative of Africa, and educating the youth about the importance of cultural diversity. She is thrilled to be Miss Ebony World because, she wants to challenge the media’s power to influence minds, by challenging the stereotypes the media brings to the public’s conscience about Africa. Hawa believes that the Miss Ebony world pageant world pageant system will help her personal growth and also give her the opportunity to continue giving back to her community. And bringing a positive light on underrepresented people and cultures in hopes to empower the youth on new perspectives they would appreciate and not belittle. 

When Hawa is not busy with school work, she enjoys writing, researching and cooking. She founded her catering business call “Hawa La plato,” two years ago entertaining her community’s taste buds with exotic flavors of Africa, She lives by her motto, ‘If it’s not worthy; do not waste a mitochondrial cell.”  It is the power and strength of these words that inspires Hawa’s patient character; to never entertain negativity and gratefully invest her ATP cells to a greater cause.

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