Ever since Ghana started encouraging black Americans to return to their African countries in 2019, some African American celebrities like actor Idris Elba and Rapper Ludacris became citizens of Sierra Leon and Gabon respectively.
Other personalities decided to trace their ancestral roots to other African countries and many have succeeded.
Oprah Winfrey successfully traced her roots back to three countries which are Liberia, Zambia and Cameroon.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson discovered his ancestry in Gabon and many others are still in the tracing process.
27-year old black American beauty queen Ashlie Watson is no different as she chose Uganda as her country of heritage.
Born and raised in Long Island New York, USA, Ashlie is a writer, poet, mental health advocate, founder of Ashlie Watson Foundation, former Miss New Jersey Earth 2018-2019 a contest that she believes opened up her heart on humanitarianism and the reigning Miss Global Uganda 2021 representing Uganda at the 2021 Miss Global beauty pageant world finale in Bali Indonesia happening from, August 30 September 13, 2021.
She is flying both the Ugandan and American flag.
Speaking to The Sunrise, Watson revealed that she chose Uganda as her ancestral home because she is an offspring of slaves and also because the earliest human remains were found in Uganda.
“As a black American native, I am a descendant of slaves and always knew that my heritage and roots were in Africa. With the campaign to welcome blacks around the world back to Africa I had to choose a logical country of Heritage to adopt. It is official that earliest human boings were found in the Nile Valley, the source of River Nile is Uganda,” she said
“For a descendant of slave ancestors, it’s only logical that my ancestral roots are connected to Uganda hence the reason why my adopted country of Heritage as a black American Woman is Uganda,” she added
The beauty queen also says that representing Uganda in Bali is a dream come true as she has always yearned for an opportunity to represent and celebrate her roots and heritage.
She started her philanthropist duties in 2018 after being crowned Miss New Jersey Earth but formally registered her foundation “The Ashlie Watson Foundation” in Uganda in 2021.
She chose to register her foundation in Uganda to help her fulfill her duties as Miss Global Uganda 2021. Watson says that as a Black American woman, she always wanted to celebrate her African heritage.
She particularly chose to advocate for mental health because while as a child, Ashlie was a victim of bullying.
“I was a child who grew up with bullying, self-doubts/loneliness then learned to love myself through my talents and surrounding myself with knowledge. I learned to control what I could and pray my way through what I couldn’t. My source was my spiritual principal and strong foundation of affirmation.” She said.
When COVID-1919 hit the world, Watson took to the forefront and helped people go through the process. As a former mental health victim, she says that she felt the impact of the virus on the people.
Recently she visited disadvantaged communities across Kampala to donate food stuff.
“When covid 19 hit the world, the pandemic opened my heart even more. I saw firsthand how this virus affected people’s lives, not just financially but mentally! Suicide rates rose drastically especially among the youth. Depression and anxiety rose as well. As a young person who struggled with both, I want a platform where I can give hope to people. Many young people feel as if their voices aren’t heard. Mental health has always been stigmatized and I would like to talk about my own battles and how I overcame them,” she revealed.
The Ashlie Watson Foundation uses poetry, mentorship, motivational talks, inspirational trainings, biblical trainings, personal financial material help and anti-bullying campaigns to empower women and youths mentally and economically, advocate for environmental protection, helping the needy, addressing period poverty and fighting bullying.