An HBCU grad galvanized voters in Georgia and another one is making history as vice president-elect

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Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams side by side headshots, both smiling

Before Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams broke barriers in the country’s political landscape, they thrived at historically Black colleges and universities.

Students and alumni from HBCUs around the country are celebrating the vice president-elect’s success, hoping it will change the misconceptions around the institutions’ quality of education and graduates’ social mobility.

Harris, a Howard University alumna, has regularly credited her education and even referred to it when she accepted the Democratic party’s vice presidential nomination.

“When you attend an HBCU, there’s nothing you can’t do,” Harris tweeted last month.

But she’s only one of several female politicians and activists who have become trailblazers, years after attending HBCUs. Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, attended Spelman College in Atlanta and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta Mayor and a surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign, went to Florida A&M University.

Cori Bush, a Harris-Stowe State University alumna, became the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

“This is certainly symbolic of the great possibilities that can happen in America,” Elwood Robinson, chancellor for Winston-Salem State University, told CNN affiliate WXII.

There’s more than 100 HBCUs across the country, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Most of them were formed after the Civil War to provide educational opportunities for newly freed slaves.

While they represent about 3% of the higher education institutions, at least 17% of bachelor’s degrees by African Americans are earned at HBCUs, according to the United Negro College Fund, a Washington-based national group that awards college scholarships and supports HBCUs.

It should not be a surprise that HBCUs students and alumni, like Harris and Abrams, are at the forefront of politics and social justice, said Robert Stephens, founder of the HBCU collective, an advocacy group aiming to increase support of Black higher education institutions.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Behind Warner Bros.’ Search for a Black Superman

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BY Tatiana SiegelBorys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

While promoting his Amazon Prime film Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse in late April, Michael B. Jordan put a Kryptonite pin in any rumors that he might suit up as Warner Bros.’ next Superman. “I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation,” Jordan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.”

With that, a whole new guessing game has kicked off centered on who will play the Man of Steel. And arguably more pressing: Who will direct? Sources say J.J. Abrams, who is producing the film, is not among the many possibilities being considered. When Warners announced in February that celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing the screenplay and Abrams is producing, it did not address the matter of helming. But insiders say Warners and DC are committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor, with one source adding that putting Abrams at the helm would be “tone-deaf.”

In a fitting twist, the director search is pitting DC against none other than Marvel. As Warners looks to fill its Superman vacancy, Marvel is on the hunt for a Blade helmer and is combing through the same list. But the question will come down to what kind of filmmaker Bad Robot and Warners want: an up-and-comer who can be backed by Abrams, who knows his way around tentpoles and franchises? Or an established filmmaker like a Barry Jenkins or a Ryan Coogler?

The former list can include Creed II’s Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, Regina King — who got raves for her drama One Night in Miami — and Shaka King, who is popular at Warners thanks to best picture Oscar nominee Judas and the Black Messiah. Some potential directors have met with both studios for both films, even as one agent said the process was “phenomenally early.” Meanwhile, Coogler may be a nonstarter for either assignment given that he will be occupied with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which releases July 8, 2022.

Coates isn’t expected to deliver his Superman script until mid-December. Likewise, Marvel isn’t rushing with Blade, whose start date was pushed from this September to July 2022, so that the studio can spend time working on the Stacy Osei-Kuffour-penned script.

While the next Superman will likely land with a name director, the star could be a relative unknown, as was the case when Brandon Routh suited up for Bryan Singer’s 2006 Superman Returns and Henry Cavill donned the cape for Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel. Neither Superman Returns nor Man of Steel lived up to outsized expectations, with the former earning $391 million worldwide and the latter taking in $668 million. By contrast, James Wan’s Aquaman nabbed $1.15 billion in 2018 and Todd Phillips’ Joker scored $1.07 billion (and multiple Oscars).

Click here to read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.

A new generation of Black male teachers starts its journey in partnership with Apple

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man sitting on a couch in a home while video chatting on his laptop

By Apple Newsroom

For more than 100 years, teaching has run through Hillary-Rhys Richard’s family.

Growing up in Katy, Texas, Rhys, as he’s known to his friends, listened to his mother, Astrya Richard, tell stories of her ancestors — four generations of educators who saw teaching as a calling, and learning as a tool for change.

By the end of high school, Rhys had never had a Black male teacher, and that absence, along with his family’s deep connection to education, helped steer him to follow in their footsteps.

This week, Rhys, 18, will complete his freshman year remotely as part of the inaugural class of the African American Male Teacher Initiative at Huston-Tillotson University. The first-of-its-kind program was created in partnership with Apple as part of the company’s ongoing and deep commitment to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Apple’s multiyear partnership with Huston-Tillotson complements other engagements the company has established through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, working alongside the HBCU community to develop curricula and provide new learning and workforce opportunities.

At Huston-Tillotson, Apple is providing scholarships for the program’s students, called Pre-Ed Scholars, as well as hardware, software, and professional-development courses for students and faculty.

“Every student should have the chance to be taught by someone who represents them,” Rhys wrote in his application essay to Huston-Tillotson. “In order to build strong children, we need strong male teachers to forge a path through being the example for students. The baton has to be passed for us to continue pushing forward. I stand ready to run my leg of the race.”

Currently, only 2 percent of all US teachers are Black men, something the program at Huston-Tillotson seeks to change. When Black students are taught by a Black teacher, they are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college.

Huston-Tillotson President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette has witnessed the power of that relationship firsthand. Her son had a Black male teacher in the fifth grade, and it transformed his education.

“It just really did something magical for him,” says Dr. Burnette. “So this is personal for me because of my own experience raising an African American male. It’s my mission to be able to get these young Black men in classrooms, so they can pour into other vessels like themselves because they have shared experiences. And there’s nothing like being taught by someone who has a shared experience.”

It’s the reason Dr. Burnette prioritized the creation of the African American Male Teacher Initiative and sought out a partner in Apple.

Click here to read the full article on Apple Newsroom.

Milton Jones of Peachtree Providence Partners Named Chair of UNCF Board

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Headshot of Milton H. Jones

Atlanta business and civic leader Milton H. Jones, Jr. has been elected Chair of the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Board of Directors, becoming the first African American to hold that position.

Jones succeeds William F. Stasior, Sr., retired Chairman and CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton, who served as UNCF’s Chair for 11 years. Former Chairs of the UNCF board include: John D. Rockefeller, III; former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo’s International Food and Beverage Division Michael H. Jordan and former Revlon President and CEO Jack Stahl.

“Since 1944, UNCF has played an integral role in changing the life trajectory for each student it has served, and l look forward to continuing that legacy,” said Milton Jones. “Our member institutions and students remain the focus of our collective efforts. As we progress each year, we will grow our organization by building upon the strong foundation laid at UNCF’s inception and strengthened throughout its history.”

“All of us at UNCF are excited to have Milton become our new Board Chair,” said UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, who has known and worked with Jones for more than four decades. “Milton brings a wealth of business knowledge and a thoughtful and collaborative leadership approach that will help us thrive and continue to drive UNCF’s and our HBUCs’ impact and growth.”

Angela Webb, founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners said, “We are incredibly proud of Milton as he assumes this role with UNCF. Milton’s life and career are a testament to his devout commitment to helping others and serving the community. We know he will do excellent things and leave a legacy that inspires others to support and revere our country’s HBCUs.”

Walter Davis, founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners said, “Milton has been an indispensable member of our team at Peachtree Providence Partners, so I am certain his time leading with UNCF will prove to be fruitful and inspiring to the young people the organization serves. I look forward to supporting Milton as he advocates for the students and institutions that change the fabric of our nation.”

In this role, Jones will work to grow the UNCF endowment, benefiting the 37 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) belonging to the UNCF network of member institutions.

Prior to his election as Board Chair, Jones served as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee. He has been a member of the UNCF Board since 2005.

Jones is a founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners Holding Company, LLC. In this role, he advises and collaborates with CEOs in key sectors that include financial services, healthcare, technology, government, and higher education. For more than 32 years while at Bank of America, he held a series of senior executive positions with global responsibilities including roles reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO.

Jones is vice chairman of the Meharry Medical College Board of Trustees; treasurer and a board member of 100 Black Men of America; co-chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and serves on the advisory boards of the Metro Atlanta YMCA, Boy Scouts and the Commerce Club. He is a member of the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club and is a member and past chairman of The Atlanta Business League and of 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

Source: Peachtree Providence Partners

Photo Credit: PRNewswire

Master P Changes Focus from Owning NBA Team to Owning an HBCU

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Master P posing with his hand over his mouth, wearing a suit and glasses

By Will Moss, HBCU Connect

The recent highlighting of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has led many to learn that most of these schools were founded on land grants provided by the government during the Reconstruction Era. Realizing this has motivated Master P to take matters into his own hands to change the future.

Master P took to Instagram where he revealed his life goal has now changed.

“I used to want to own an NBA team but now I want to own a HBCU,” opens his video’s caption.

“This message is all about educating our people,” Master P said in the video. “Anybody that’s listening to this and has a business, I want y’all to join this movement with me. We need to make sure our kids get educated the way other the cultures are educated.”

The spotlight has been refocused on HBCUs in recent years. Michael B. Jordan created a basketball invitational to showcase talent at the institutions and the NBA has put an emphasis on supporting them. During the NBA All-Star Game, the league generated $3 million that will be used to promote these colleges and universities.

“It was part of the reason why we’re here in Atlanta,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, per CNN. Atlanta is home to a host of HBCUs including the acclaimed Atlanta University Center (AUC) which consists of legendary schools Morehouse College, Spellman College, and Clark Atlanta University. “This was an opportunity to focus on the HBCUs,” Silver added.

Master P wanted to extend this goal on his own. He explained in his IG caption that HBCUs graduate more women than any other league of higher education. This includes the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Click here to read the full article on HBCU Connect

Michelle Obama returns to Netflix with children’s cooking show ‘Waffles + Mochi’

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Michelle Obama smiling wearing black for netflix

Michelle Obama returns to Netflix this month. The former first lady will appear in a children’s series called “Waffles + Mochi,” which is part of a multi-year producing deal that she and her husband, Barack Obama, have with the streaming service.

The 10-episode cooking show features Obama alongside a couple of friendly puppet pals as they discover, cook and eat food from around the world. The series debuts March 16.

Additionally, “Waffles + Mochi” is collaborating with Partnership for a Healthier America, where Obama serves as honorary chair, to provide fresh ingredients to families during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This children’s program is the latest release from the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, as part of its partnership with Netflix that started in 2018. The couple has launched several documentaries, “American Factory,” “Crip Camp” and “Becoming,” on the streaming service.

Signing the Obamas nearly three years ago is part of Netflix’s ongoing strategy of securing exclusive deals with top content creators. Netflix has a long list of these partnerships that includes contracts with Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Kevin Hart, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and Kenya Barris.

It’s unknown how much the Obamas’ Netflix agreement is worth or how long it is contracted to last.

Last week, Netflix and Higher Ground Productions detailed a slate of programming in development for the streaming service. The projects, which span multiple genres, are set to be released over the next few years:

  • “Exit West” is a feature film based on Mohsin Hamid’s novel of the same name.
  • “Satellite” is a science fiction film written by Ola Shokunbi and produced by Kiri Hart and Stephen Feder for Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T Street.
  • “Tenzing” is a film based on the true story of Tenzing Norgay, the first man to reach the summit of Everest.
  • “The Young Wife” is a film from writer and director Tayarisha Poe.
  • “Firekeeper’s Daughter” is a series based on Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, which is set to publish this spring.
  • “Great National Parks” is a natural history docuseries that explores national parks around the world.
  • “Ada Twist, Scientist” is an animated preschool series based on the book series by Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts.
  • “The G Word with Adam Conover” is a comedy series hosted by Adam Conover that is based on “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy” by Michael Lewis.

Continue to the CNBC.

Meet Amanda Gorman, who made history as youngest inaugural poet

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Amanda Gorman stands behind podium smiling with two fingers pointing up while reading her poem

By Tamar Lapin

Originally posted on the New York Post.

Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard graduate from California, made US history on Wednesday as the youngest person ever chosen to write a poem for a presidential inauguration.

The Los Angeles native captivated viewers during President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony with her moving rendition of “The Hill We Climb,” a work about unity, healing and perseverance.

“When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Gorman began her inaugural poem.

She continued: “And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”

Mindful of the past, Gorman honored previous inaugural poet Maya Angelou by wearing a ring with a caged bird — a tribute to the writer’s classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted Winfrey, a close friend of the late writer.

Gorman replied: “Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in.”

“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before.”

So how did Gorman get here? At just 16, she was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and her first poetry book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” was released a year later in 2015.

In 2017, she became the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

Gorman, who graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology, has read for official occasions before.

Having seen perform at the Library of Congress, First Lady Jill Biden asked Gorman late last month to write something to recite on Wednesday.

Gorman had completed a little more than half the work on Jan. 6, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an effort to stop Biden’s win from being certified.

“That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” Gorman told The Associated Press last week.

She referenced the deadly riot in her work, saying: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.”

“And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”

Gorman also found commonality with Joe Biden, as both her and the president battled speech impediments.

“Writing my poems on the page wasn’t enough for me,” she told “CBS This Morning.”

“I had to give them breath, and life, I had to perform them as I am. That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”

Read the full article on the New York Post

Having Our Say: Black Voices on Working in Higher Education — download new ebook today!

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image of the name of the ebook HavingOurSay with spiral colored graphics as background

The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (aka HERC Jobs) has just published its fourth free ebook, Having Our Say: Black Voices on Working in Higher Education!

Written by Chanté Griffin and Leslie Taylor, the ebook features stories from Black faculty and staff at colleges and universities across the U.S., at different career stages and in a variety of roles. Gain valuable insight on how to forge your own career path in higher ed.

https://info.hercjobs.org/black-voices-ebook/ #havingoursayebook #hercjobs

The Future of College Recruitment Depends on Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

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happy african american college students walking together on campus

By Casey Welch

Over the past year, colleges have struggled to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, between the pressure to move entire degree programs online and the question of how best to connect with potential students in the absence of traditional events like college fairs and campus tours.

The obstacles faced by institutions of higher education have only increased over the years, and even when students can safely return to campus, it’s clear that colleges will be left with a critical, unsolved problem: how to prioritize diversity and inclusion and reflect those values in their recruitment practices.

According to a recent survey, 25% of Gen Zers decided not to apply for a college because they feared being treated unfairly due to their gender, ethnic or racial identity. Many are speaking from personal experience: Over three-quarters of respondents said they had witnessed discrimination in school and over half have experienced it themselves.

Colleges already experiencing a decline in enrollment can course correct through simple adjustments to how they prioritize and reflect the fundamental values of diversity and inclusion in their recruitment practices. This change will have a significant impact, not just on application and enrollment numbers, but on their long-term relevance as institutions of higher education.

Recruiting the next generation of college students, therefore, will require a shift in focus and a strategy that prioritizes a diverse campus culture, where all will feel welcome and appreciated for their differences, instead of ostracized. Recruitment practices are the ideal place for colleges to begin making the importance of diversity and inclusion clear, especially since prospective students are actively looking for the motivation behind initiatives that promote these values, and not just proof of their implementation.
Prioritizing diversity begins by ensuring that college recruiters reflect the background and identity of the students they’re hoping to attract. Almost two-thirds of students indicated that they would be more likely to apply to a college where the recruiter shares their racial or ethnic identity.

The next step toward inclusion is for colleges to be aware of what, exactly, Gen Zers include within that concept. For these future students, diversity and inclusion don’t stop with respect for racial or ethnic differences, they must also include an understanding of the importance of gender pronouns.

The majority of students emphatically agree that recruiters should ask for their preferred gender pronouns, but only a fraction have ever had a recruiter pose that question. Including this question would be a simple change to the existing process, but it’s one notable place where recruiters are missing the mark and missing out on potential candidates.

Colleges that have already undertaken initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion need to communicate the results of those efforts more effectively, such as through statistics and student testimonials that speak to the authentic impact of these changes over time. Respondents also highlighted a few other ways colleges can increase awareness of their dedication to these ideals, including drawing attention to programs or classes that promote diversity and a demonstrated commitment to social justice. Considering how important these criteria are to prospective students, putting in the work to implement these changes will be ineffective in attracting new students if there’s no visibility of their impact.
Simply advertising these changes isn’t enough, however. Colleges should clearly communicate how they plan to continue working toward a more diverse and inclusive environment, as well as why those changes are important. Prospective students are taking a harder look not only at the success of these initiatives, but also the motivation behind their implementation, in their consideration of where to apply.

Changing the look and language of recruitment is an easy switch, but it’s also a powerful one that will have a lasting impact on the future of college enrollment. Gen Z is placing a heavier emphasis on these distinctions than any prior generation, and colleges need to start doing so as well in response.

The next generation of college students is looking for more than an idyllic campus and an exhaustive list of course options; they’re looking for a safe environment that reflects who they are and the future they hope to create. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion and reflecting those values in their recruitment practices, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to actively welcome a diverse community of students and ensure their continued relevance.

Meghan Markle Is Now A Startup Investor And Oprah Sends Her Full Support

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The Duchess of Sussex’s first public investment is a very trendy one. Meghan Markle has a new title to add to her already extensive resume: startup investor.

Noah Harris Makes History Becoming First Black Student Body President at Harvard

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Noah Harris Harvard

The same month Mississippi voters overwhelmingly opted for a new state flag without a Confederate emblem, Noah Harris was elected student body president at Harvard University.
It’s been a defining year for Harris, a 20-year-old Black man from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. “I definitely don’t take that lightly,” Harris, a junior majoring in government, said of the confidence placed in him. “Especially with everything that went on this summer with the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, all the protests that went on in this moment of racial reckoning in this country. This is a major statement by the Harvard student body to entrust a Black man with such an unprecedented moment in its history.”

Harris follows two other Black students who have headed Harvard’s Undergraduate Council, but Harris is the first Black man to be elected by the student body. Cary Gabay (1994) was the first Black man to serve in the role; he was chosen in 1993 by members of the council, prior to voting changing to include the entire student body in 1995. Gabay died in 2015 after being caught in the crossfire of a shooting in New York City. Fentrice Driskell (2001) became  Image  Credit – Hattiesburg American                                     the first Black woman to be elected, in 1999. She now serves in the Florida House of Representatives, where she recently was elected to a second term.

Read the full article on Hattiesburg American

School of Rock owners around the world are making an impact in their communities

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group of diverse music students in school playing guitars and drums

School of Rock owners around the world are making an impact in their communities through the power of music education. And you can too.

You may already know School of Rock from the movie, but we’re so much more. We’re innovators in the world of music education.

We understand what it takes to inspire kids, change lives, and help you succeed as a music school.

Recognized by Entrepreneur, Forbes and Franchise Business Review as one of the top franchises in the world, School of Rock enables you to mix business with pleasure by owning a rock and roll hub in your city.

You’ll be able to offer structure, guidance, education and entertainment to the lives of children and adults through the power of music. And you will own a successful business on top of it all.

Become a School of Rock owner and experience our unique franchising approach.

Find out more here.

The University of California’s First Black President

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Michael Drake, President, UC Irvine headshot

The University of California Board of Regents announced over the summer that Michael V. Drake, MD, is the 21st president of UC’s worldrenowned system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students, and 230,000 faculty and staff.

Drake has a long and distinguished career in higher education, most recently as president of The Ohio State University (OSU) from 2014 until this past week. Prior to his six years at OSU, his entire academic career has been at UC, including as chancellor of UC Irvine for nine years from 2005 to 2014 and as the systemwide vice president for health affairs from 2000 to 2005.

Drake received his A.B. from Stanford University and his residency, MD, and fellowship in ophthalmology from UCSF. He subsequently spent more than two decades on the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine, including as the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology.

Under his leadership, Drake greatly enhanced UC Irvine’s reputation as a premier university. UC Irvine rose to join the top 10 public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list and was ranked by Times Higher Education as the No. 1 university in the U.S. under 50 years old. During his tenure at the campus, the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18 percent, while undergraduate enrollment and diversity significantly increased. In addition, Drake oversaw the establishment of new schools of law and education, as well as programs in public health, nursing and pharmacy.

Drake’s tenure at OSU was marked by record-high applications and graduation rates, groundbreaking research and strong donor support. He established several successful programs to increase student access and affordability, including a tuition guarantee program; enhanced scholarships covering the cost of attendance; and increased grants to support middle- and lower-income students. In fact, OSU’s need-based financial aid increased by more than $200 million between 2015 and 2020.

“Much has changed in the 15 years since I was given the privilege of becoming chancellor at UC Irvine but not my absolute belief in this great University and its time-honored mission,” Drake said. “I look forward to working with the regents, chancellors, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our broader community as we, together, guide the University through the challenging times ahead. Brenda and I are thrilled to be back. Fiat Lux!”

Source: universityofcalifornia.edu

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