A performing arts center at Compton High School that’s being built with the help of music mogul Dr. Dre is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The Compton native – who donated $10 million to the project – joined city and school leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the first step in getting the center up and running.
The facility will include a 1,200-seat theater and will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.
“When I was approached about funding a performing arts center that would provide an arts and technological education to students and be accessible for the community at large, I was all in,” said Dr. Dre. “I wanted to give the young people of Compton something I never had.”
Dr. Dre – born Andre Young – grew up in Compton and first rose to fame as a member of NWA, whose debut album was titled “Straight Outta Compton.”
He later found success as a solo artist, producer and businessman.
The performing arts center will be the first new high school facility to be built in almost a decade in the greater Los Angeles area.
Compton High School is more than 100 years old.
“This is very historical for Compton,” said Compton Unified School District Board President Micah Ali.
Unemployed, underemployed or just curious? Changing circumstances in the economy may be making self-employment a more intriguing option to consider, and there are plenty of helpful training and information resources to help you explore the possibilities.
Independent work is a term that describes self-employed, freelance, temporary and “gig” work done by millions of workers in the U.S. It also includes individuals who sell items on e-commerce, vend private residential rental space on online platforms or drive for ride-hailing services. Independent work is an increasingly important means for either a primary or supplemental income in the U.S.
Another form of self-employment involves running a business with a physical location that employs others to make or sell goods or provide services. You might do this by starting your own business, buying a stand-alone existing business or joining a franchise program.
Free entrepreneurship learning opportunities
Whatever your ideas for a business model, there is a wealth of valuable entrepreneurship learning and business counseling opportunities available. Check out some of these free resources:
Local American Job Centers provide small business skill training, career awareness and counseling and information to help you understand the types of services and products in demand in your local economy.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): A course designed to help participants develop a flexible way of thinking about marketing problems and understand key marketing concepts, methods and strategic issues relevant for start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs.
Money Smart for Small Businesses: This new instructor-led training curriculum developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) contains 10 training modules covering key topics for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Small Business Administration Learning Center: Take free online courses covering how to plan for your successful business startup, launching your business, managing, marketing and growing your business. It also includes an overview for young entrepreneurs.
SBA Online Small Business Training: The Small Business Administration offers more than 30 free self-guided online business training courses covering a variety of topics including how to prepare a business plan, franchising basics, government contracting, green business opportunities and more.
SCORE entrepreneurship online courses: View all their free courses available, including hiring workers, setting up a physical location, pricing products and services, finding funding and more.
Resources for targeted audiences interested in small business
Minority Business Development Agency: The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. MBDA programs, services and initiatives focus on helping MBEs grow today, while preparing them to meet the industry needs of tomorrow.
Native American Enterprise Initiative: The Native American Enterprise Initiative seeks to build on the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s record of success and advocacy by focusing on the crucial economic issues confronting tribal business entities and Native American-owned enterprises.
Veterans Business Outreach Centers: The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.
Maia Chaka Becomes the First Black Woman to Officiate the NFL
This past season, Maia Chaka made history when she became the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game. Chaka, who has been a part of the NFL Officiating Development Program since 2014, has formally been added to the NFL officiating roster in an accomplishment that Chaka claims not only for herself but for her community. Her first game was on September 12, between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,” Chaka stated to the press, “It is an accomplishment for all women, my community and my culture.”
Emma Grede is the First Black Woman Investor on Shark Tank
CEO of Khloe Kardashian’s Good American and Co-founder to Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, Emma Grede has become the first black woman to join the cast of Shark Tank as one of the show’s “sharks.” She will be the 13th season’s guest shark alongside show regulars Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavic, Daymond John and additional guest shark, Kevin Hart. Of her appearance, Grede simply stated on Instagram, “I’m beyond thrilled to be a guest shark on Season 13 of Shark Tank!”
Michaela Coel Becomes the First Black Woman to Win an Emmy for Writing in a Limited Series
Writer Michaela Coel made history during the 2021 Emmys when she became the first Black Woman to win an Emmy for writing in a Limited Series. Coel’s victory came from her work on the series, I May Destroy You, which she wrote, directed and produced based off of her experiences as a sexual assault survivor. Coel kept her acceptance speech sweet and concise with what she wanted to say: “Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that is uncomfortable…Do not be afraid to disappear — from it, from us — for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence…I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assault.”
Source: ET and The Atlantic
A Black Lady Sketch Show Earns First Emmy for Picture Editing in a Variety Program
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The editing team of the comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show” took home the award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming at the Emmy’s this last year, making them the first editing team of color to win and be nominated in that category. The award came specifically for Season 2, Episode 3 entitled “Sister, May I Call You Oshun?” starring Gabrielle Union and Jesse Williams. Editors Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hernandez were present to accept their physical awards.
Source: Because of Them We Can
Sian Proctor Becomes the First Black Woman Spacecraft Pilot
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
When SpaceX launched its historic Inspiration4 mission, it marked the first time that an all-civilian crew traveled into orbit. But as historic as this feat is, it wasn’t the only “first” that was accomplished that day. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist chosen to be a part of the missions’ crew, was assigned to be the pilot for the flight, making her the first black woman spacecraft pilot in history. Proctor’s position also makes her the oldest black woman to go to space at the age of 51 and the sixth black woman astronaut in history regardless of space travel status.
Source: Space.com, Wikipedia, Spaceflight Now
The First Black Women Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
Marian Photo: Wikipedia
Bath Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Dr. Patricia Era Bath (1942-2019), the groundbreaking ophthalmologist who invented one of the most important surgical tools in history, and Marian Croak, one of the astounding pioneers for Voice over IP adaption, will be inducted into the National Investors Hall of Fame in May of next year, making them the first Black female inventors inducted by NIHF in its nearly 50-year history. When asked what it meant to be a part of the 2022 class of inductees and as one of the first black women to do so, Croak stated, “I find that it inspires people when they see someone who looks like themselves on some dimension, and I’m proud to offer that type of representation. People also see that I’m just a normal person like themselves, and I think that also inspires them to accomplish their goals. I want people to understand that it may be difficult but that they can overcome obstacles and that it will be so worth it.”
Source: We R Stem, Google News, Wikipedia
Bubba Wallace Breaks Record in NASCAR Cup
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Racecar driver, Bubba Wallace, broke records this last year when he won the YellaWood 500 NASCAR race, making him the first black driver to win a NASCAR cup since Wendell Scott’s victory in 1963. Wallace took the victory in early October, driving the number 23 Toyota Camry, owned by Michael Jordan’s racing team. The win not only marked Wallace’s first win since becoming a full-time racer in 2018, but named Jordan as the first black owner to win a full-time cup since 1973. When asked what it was like for Wallace to be the first black driver to win a cup since Wendell Scott, Wallace told NBC: “When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of joy, a lot of emotion to my family, fans and friends…just proud to be a winner in a Cup Series.”
Source: Deadline and NBC
Jessica Watkins to Be the First Black Woman to Live and Work on the Space Station
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
NASA has assigned astronaut Jessica Watkins to serve as a mission specialist on the agency’s upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission, the fourth crew rotation flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. This makes Watkins the first black woman in history to live and work on the space station. The mission will begin in April 2022 and will be Watkins’ first trip to space after her astronaut selection in 2017.
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.
“How to Apply for Higher Education Careers – Revised Edition” is a free ebook for anyone interested in getting a job in higher education.
If you’re starting your career or considering a career change, this ebook dives into what’s needed to apply for higher ed jobs: understanding the difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume, drafting a career-change resume, and checking if your resume can pass the 10-second test. The revised edition includes cover letter writing tips and candid advice from higher ed professionals, including representatives in HR and recruiting.
Download the ebook for strategies to tackle that crucial early step of putting yourself out there to secure your ideal job in higher ed.
As the world becomes more digital, and with the metaverse just around the corner, educating and empowering our communities about access to new resources is vital.
But what happens when the language is convoluted and leaves out minorities?
Enter Marimer Cruz.
This Afro-Latina has written a book to break crypto down and make it accessible to everyone. “Crypto Simplified” is a step-by-step how-to manual that includes videos to start investing in the cryptocurrency world in an easy, quick, and safe way.
According to the author’s press release, the book s a layman’s explanation of the world of cryptocurrencies, how to buy your first crypto, and make money after implementation. Cruz explains what novices need to know about this complicated and rapidly evolving market.
For Marimer Cruz, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the financial jargon is common for all Latinos, especially those from poor backgrounds.
A graduate of TAMUCT and BAYLOR University’s Master’s degree, Cruz grew up amid poverty, abuse, and struggling with systemic lupus.
The Texas-based Puerto Rican experienced firsthand the linguistic and information democratization obstacles when she took her first steps in the world of cryptocurrency.
“I remember how scared I was of sending money from one exchange to another, thinking I will lose it all,” she says.
Now, with “Crypto Simplified,” Cruz wants to change the landscape.
“I remember how alone it feels being one of the few women minority full-time educators and bot traders in the USA,” she admits.
Cruz learned directly from grid bot trading experts and has leveraged her seven years as a super affiliate to help others safely embark on crypto. “Crypto is my passion, and there is nothing like it,” Cruz says, “and I will be spreading the crypto gospel in the Anglo and Spanish markets for years to come!”
Former WNBA player Niesha Butler has opened the first Afro-Latina-owned STEM camp, S.T.E.A.M. Champs, in New York City to reduce accessibility barriers to tech educational resources for Brooklyn youth.
“If a kid could actually say that they can be LeBron James, and roll it off their tongue as easy as that, then they can literally say ‘yeah, I can also put a man on the moon,’ or ‘I can also create the next app,'” Butler told ABC News.
Butler, a New York City native, says “there’s talent in Brooklyn.” She established S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Champs in the middle of Brooklyn to encourage inner-city youth to channel their ambition into educational opportunities. Butler also hires interns, may of whom have tried coding for the first time with the program, she says.
“People sell basketball dreams every other second in our community. I thought it was really important to, let’s sell these tech dreams,” Butler said.
Prior to opening her doors in Brooklyn, Butler partnered with organizations like Girl Scouts, BronxWorks and a local AAU basketball team to host STEM-focused workshops reaching over 300 New York City students. Monday was the first day of camp in the newly opened facility.
“There’s not a lot of people of color in tech,” Butler said. “These jobs are open for everybody and they’re empty…so obviously we need to do a better job at educating our kids and in recruiting them.”
Other tech education camps and workshops across the nation have worked to close the gap and make tech careers interesting and accessible to students of underserved communities.
Black Girls CODE is one of those resources providing workshops and public speaking opportunities for Black girls. Program alumni Kimora Oliver and Azure Butler say that the program’s first chapter in California’s Bay Area created an environment that allowed local Black female students to envision themselves in the tech industry.
“Unfortunately, STEM is a white and male dominated field,” Oliver told ABC News. “I feel like [Black Girls CODE] is giving a diverse group of Black girls the exposure that they need to decide for themselves whether they want to continue with STEM in the future.”
For almost 40 years, another program called Academically Interest Minds (AIM) at Kettering University has tailored its pre-college curriculum to expose youth of color to STEM coursework and campus life.
“49% of African American students who attend Kettering University now, are AIM graduates,” Ricky D. Brown, the university’s director of multicultural student initiatives and the AIM program, told ABC News.
For many, STEM educational resources introduce an element of choice in considering STEM and exploring pathways of academic interests.
A study released in July by the National Bureau of Economic Research says that early intervention programs like S.T.E.A.M Champs, AIM and Black Girls CODE are effective in helping students achieve academic success in higher education and STEM majors.
“Some of these kids don’t have a computer at home to study,” Butler said. “When I go to some of these centers, they don’t have good Wi-Fi…they have outdated computers.”
According to the study, underrepresentation in STEM is due to a lack of preparation and access to educational resources.
“Given that STEM preparation and college access are shaped prior to college entrance, STEM focused enrichment programs for high school students are promising vehicles to reduce disparities in STEM degree attainment,” the study’s authors wrote.
Click here to read the full article on ABC News Radio.
The youngest self-made billionaire woman in the U.S. didn’t grow up in a Manhattan high rise or the Hollywood Hills. Instead, Rihanna amassed her fortune from her own music and entrepreneurial ventures.
Recently, the 34-year-old singer and Fenty Beauty CEO graced Forbes’ annual list of America’s richest self-made women for the third year in a row. She ranked 21st overall, and is the list’s only billionaire under age 40. Some of Rihanna’s $1.4 billion net worth is from her successful music career. Most of it is from her three retail companies: Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin and Savage X Fenty.
In March, Bloomberg reported Savage X Fenty lingerie was working with advisors on an IPO that could potentially be valued at $3 billion. Rihanna owns 30% of that company. She also owns half of Fenty Beauty, which generated $550 million in revenue in 2020. The other half of the company is owned by French luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH.
The numbers are impressive, but Rihanna has said that her focus isn’t on valuations and accolades. In 2019, she told The New York Times’ T Magazine that because she never planned on making a fortune, reaching financial milestones was “not going to stop me from working.”
The nine-time Grammy Award winner also said she wants to give that money away to causes that matter, anyway. “My money is not for me; it’s always the thought that I can help someone else,” she said. “The world can really make you believe that the wrong things are priority, and it makes you really miss the core of life, what it means to be alive.”
In 2012, Rihanna started a philanthropy fund, the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF). It aims to “support and fund groundbreaking education and climate resilience initiatives,” according to its website.
One of its first initiatives, which launched a year after the foundation began, raised $60 million for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS through sales from the singer’s lipstick line with MAC Cosmetics. And in January, CLF paired up with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s #SmartSmall initiative to donate a combined $15 million to 18 different climate justice groups.
That money is meant for organizations “focused on and led by women, youth, Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQIA+ communities” in the U.S. and Caribbean, according to CLF’s website.
“At the [CLF], much of the work is rooted in the understanding that climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change,” Rihanna said in a January statement.
Sunday night’s BET Awards was not only a big night for Sean “Diddy” Combs but also for Howard University in D.C.
While accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, Diddy pledged to donate $1 million to both Howard University and Jackson State University.
“I want to donate a million dollars to Howard University,” Combs said to the audience before he left the stage. “Also, I’m gonna drop another million dollars on Deion Sanders and Jackson State, because we should play for us. Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart, I love y’all.”
The announcement came as Combs accepted the award from surprise presenter Kanye West alongside Babyface.
“I got this dream of Black people being free,” Combs said. “I got this dream of us controlling our own destiny. I got this dream of us taking accountability and stop killing each other. I got this dream of us being rich and wealthy and living on the same block. I have this dream of us unifying.”
“Y’all know I wouldn’t be here without Howard University, Combs said before starting an “HU” chant during his speech.
Combs attended Howard University in the late 1980s but left to pursue a career in music. In 2014, he returned to receive an honorary doctorate from the university.
Also during Combs’ speech, he paid homage to the late Andre Harrell, who launched his career, as well as his mother for working several jobs during his childhood and the late Kim Porter, his longtime girlfriend and mother of his three children.
Click here to read the full article on ABC 13 News.
Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is launching a media production company in partnership with The SpringHill Company, a media conglomerate created by Lebron James.
The production company, called Hana Kuma, will produce scripted and nonfiction content, starting with a New York Times documentary about Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to U.S. Congress, according to a press release. The announcement says Hana Kuma will highlight “empowering” and “culturally specific” stories.
“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform,” Osaka said in the release. “In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is a testament to that as well.”
The SpringHill Company, founded by NBA star James and business partner Maverick Carter, will provide production and strategic resources to Hana Kuma, the release said. Hana Kuma also has partnerships with crypto exchange platform FTX and health platform Modern Health.
In May, Osaka launched an athlete representation agency called Evolve.
Five HBCU students and recent graduates are surely feeling happy after Grammy-winning producer Pharrell Williams surprised them by paying off their student loans.
The moment took place Friday during an NAACP panel on the student debt crisis among Black students, as part of Williams’ Something in the Water festival.
Speaking on the “Today” show Thursday, the “Happy” hitmaker characterized the festival as a “Black solution to a systemic problem that ended up being this festival that allowed everybody to come together — Black, white, gay, straight, whatever it is that you are. The Washington, D.C.-based event takes place this Juneteenth weekend and will include performances from SZA, Anderson .Paak, Justin Timberlake and J Balvin, among others.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson tweeted photos of the moment the five NAACP youth leaders learned of Williams’ generosity. Johnson also used the event to call on President Biden to relieve all student debt.
“@POTUS, it’s your turn now to do the same for all Americans plagued by student debt,” wrote Johnson.
In a press release, Wisdom Cole, the NAACP’s national director of youth and college, who organized the Black student debt panel, applauded Williams and pointed out how debt specifically affects the Black community.
“Pharrell forever changed their lives. Student debt continues to disproportionately plague the Black community and crush opportunities for so many Black people,” Cole said. “It is time to reduce the racial wealth gap, it is time for President Biden to fulfill his promise.”
Cole was referring to Biden’s 2020 campaign promise to broadly alleviate the national student debt, which he has wavered on since his election.
“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden said in April. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction. But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness.”
More than 43 million Americans collectively have $1.6 trillion in federal student loan obligations.
Williams’ surprise debt forgiveness comes a day after he was introduced into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as part of songwriting duo the Neptunes, alongside collaborator Chad Hugo.
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! News.
The collective moment when I first saw a three-dimensional reflection of my own college experience in popular culture happened not once but twice: on the television series “A Different World,” which premiered in 1987, and in Spike Lee’s film “School Daze,” which debuted in 1988. Together, they presented a meditation on the many layers and complexities of Black campus life that I had not seen before.
The magic for me wasn’t in particular characters as much as it was in the plot lines and the elements of culture imported from H.B.C.U.s, or historically Black colleges and universities. These recognizable moments from my own experience — campuses filled with students who celebrated the diversity of Black culture; the Greek steppers whose chants and thunderous stomps filled the gym; the homecomings that felt more like a family reunion — could have been plucked from any of the more than 100 H.B.C.U. campuses across the country, including my alma mater, Florida A&M University (FAMU).
When they appeared more than 30 years ago, “A Different World” and “School Daze” harnessed the power of familiarity and affirmation — and marked one of the first big moments of visibility for H.B.C.U.s in mainstream culture.
Finally, I thought, a defining chapter in the lives of so many Black Americans was being told in a big, big way. Finally, our H.B.C.U. history and inheritance, our legacy and sense of belonging, were being mined for storytelling.
Finally, we saw ourselves.
Over the decades, what began as sporadic nods to Black campus experiences has grown into more: portrayals that are both authentic and that challenge stereotypes about H.B.C.U. college life. While there is room for more — and more varied — narratives, in 2022 it is no longer an anomaly to see a television show set at an H.B.C.U., or an H.B.C.U. marching band featured in a music video or commercial, or a real-life celebrity or athlete wearing H.B.C.U.-branded apparel.
Earlier this year, the CW network released “March,” an eight-episode docuseries about the marching band at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. The CW’s new show “All American: Homecoming,” a spinoff of the popular “All American,” takes place at the fictional Bringston College in Atlanta, which is home to several real-life H.B.C.U.s.
“This just felt like an organic opportunity where I can extend what we’re doing on ‘All American’ and explore a whole new different world of Blackness at an older, broader level,” Nkechi Okoro Carroll, the showrunner for “All American: Homecoming,” said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times, adding, “It’s time that people understand we’re worthy of being the ‘A’ story, the H.B.C.U. experience is worthy of being the ‘A’ story.”
In the fashion world, Ralph Lauren used the vintage finery worn by students at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges between the 1920s and the 1950s as inspiration for his new capsule clothing collection, developed in collaboration with the schools and released in March.
And in one of the biggest nods by one of the biggest stars, Beyoncé incorporated the high-stepping electricity of an H.B.C.U. marching band and the iconography of Black Greek life into her historic headlining performance at Coachella in 2018, which came to be nicknamed Beychella. (The performance was documented in “Homecoming,” a behind-the-scenes concert film on Netflix.) The unmistakable sound (her band included performers who had marched in H.B.C.U. bands), the precision choreography, the call-and-response chants, the unwavering spirit — the performance was every bit a visible and visceral celebration of deeply rooted H.B.C.U. traditions.
“This feels like a very new and different moment around the acceptance and visibility and pop-cultural representation of H.B.C.U.s,” said Mark Anthony Neal, the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American studies at Duke University.
Will Packer, a top filmmaker and a graduate of FAMU, has both witnessed and contributed to the rise in visibility of H.B.C.U.s. He also remembered the one-two punch of “A Different World” and “School Daze” as his own meaningful introduction to seeing H.B.C.U. life onscreen.
“That was the first time I saw those images and was able to really process them in a way that said, Oh, this is a real place,” said Mr. Packer, whose producing credits include “Ride Along” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Seeing those early depictions, he said, was “not just something fresh out of Hollywood but someplace I can have access to.”
Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.
Travis Scott is making sure hundreds of Black college students walk across the commencement stage with their diploma … with a seven-figure donation.
The rapper awarded $1 million in scholarships to 100 students at HBCUs who are on track to graduate in the Class of 2022 … ensuring they cross the finish line and aren’t affected by last-minute financial hurdles.
The soon-to-be grads are each getting a $10,000 scholarship from Travis’ previously-established Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund … and the recipients finished their final semester with at least a 3.5 GPA.
Among the scholars … Florida A&M University pharmacy major Nisha Encarnacion, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands and paid her own way through college while supporting her mother and daughter, Fisk University computer science major Chisom Okwor, whose goal is to help transform developing countries in Africa, and North Carolina Central University broadcast journalism major Jordan Massey, who took on a ton of debt to get his communications degree.
Travis’ sister, Jordan Webster, manages the scholarship fund … and she recently graduated as well, with a degree from Howard University.
Travis’ donations went to seniors at 38 HBCUs … including Alabama A&M University, Central State University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Texas Southern University, Grambling State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Prairie View A&M University.
The $1 million worth of scholarships is part of Travis’ Project HEAL, which as we first reported, was announced back in March and included $5 million in earmarks.
Remember … Project HEAL was one of Travis’ first public philanthropic since the tragic Astroworld concert last November, which saw 10 people die as a result of injuries sustained during Travis’ set.