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The Impact of HBCUs on Hollywood: Javicia Leslie's Story

The Impact of HBCUs on Hollywood: Javicia Leslie's Story

  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) play a key economic role in our nation. Producing skilled workers while creating employment for communities they serve. Javicia Leslie is an HBCU graduate and the new star of Gotham as Batwoman; yet her personal journey is unquestionably what has had the biggest impact. How HBCUs Changed My Life People sometimes assume HBCUs don't take their students seriously or provide an excellent education, but this is far from true. According to Javicia Leslie who graduated from Howard University in 2008: "HBCUs offer different types of learning environments with unrivaled culture and mentorship opportunities." Established after the Civil War, these schools provided Black Americans the chance to pursue higher education. Many prominent politicians, lawyers, doctors, and entrepreneurs now hail from these HBCUs despite their previous struggles to ensure students received an optimal educational experience. Spelman College alumni Marian Wright Edelman was a key source of inspiration for Martin Luther King Jr. Katherine Johnson used her HBCU degree to determine when and where the rocket launched on Apollo 11 from. Historically, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have struggled to secure adequate funding. Many states have denied them access to public money that should go toward maintenance or salaries than would otherwise be owed them, forcing HBCUs to postpone maintenance work or pay less salaries than necessary - yet still produce some of our country's most influential Black leaders. Supporting these institutions with both our money and time donations is of utmost importance if we want the next generation of leaders for this country to emerge successfully. They need us to produce future changemakers who will lead this nation forward. For me, that means continuing to share our stories and demonstrate to the world that HBCUs are here to stay and thriving - thanks to their incredible legacy, I am in a position to help others realize their dreams thanks to this incredible movement! Please join me as part of this incredible movement; let's build together! HBCU in LA Internship Program The HBCU in LA Internship Program is an innovative initiative that connects student leaders from historically Black Colleges and Universities with high-level, 10-week internships at some of Los Angeles' premier creative industry organizations such as studios, networks and talent agencies. It welcomes both undergraduate and graduate students who possess strong ambitions of working behind the scenes within entertainment industries such as studios or networks. HBCUs have helped many talented individuals realize their dreams of success in Hollywood and beyond, leaving a ripple effect far beyond campus gates. Alumni such as Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Chadwick Boseman and Toni Morrison have used their platforms to give back to the schools that gave them their start - whether hosting commencement speeches or giving millions toward student affordability costs; these stars make no secret about their connection to HBCUs. Many don't realize the significance of historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to both their local communities as well as to America as a whole. A landmark study, "HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities," attempted to quantify their value for the first time ever. According to that research, money spent by, around, or in relation to HBCUs drives economic growth on campus as well as off campus - far surpassing their annual revenues; placing them among America's 200 largest corporations! The study also revealed that historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play an instrumental role in local, regional and state economies across America. Collectively these institutions generate $14.8 billion each year in economic impact - enough to rank them as one of America's 200 most profitable corporations. The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities joined forces with EICOP and SAG-AFTRA to launch HBCU in LA - an internship program connecting talented HBCU students with some of Hollywood's prestigious entertainment companies. Spelman, Southern University and other historically Black colleges and universities were represented among its inaugural class; to find out more click here. HBCU in LA Mentorship Program Javicia Leslie is an HBCU graduate with an impressive resume. She has appeared in various television shows and films such as MacGyver, Chef Julian, Prototype, God Friended Me (CBS). Javicia credits her HBCU education for equipping her with the tools she needs to thrive in Hollywood. Many of the most famous and accomplished figures in Black culture, from Michael Strahan to Chadwick Boseman (deceased), have attended historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). All have acknowledged how their time at an HBCU shaped who they are today while providing the foundation needed to reach their career goals. Furthermore, these luminaries remain dedicated to giving back by speaking at commencement ceremonies, hosting fundraising events or other means. Historically Black colleges (HBCUs) have long been at the heart of American civil rights, business, science, politics and more for over 150 years. HBCUs are known for their dynamic culture that celebrates history while projecting an inclusive vision for America's success story. From civil rights leaders like MLK and Thurgood Marshall and Alice Walker's court cases to Katherine Johnson who inspired Hidden Figures film; generations have benefited from HBCU education and empowerment. The HBCU in LA Mentorship Program is the first of its kind to tackle Hollywood's diversity pipeline issue at an academic level. By offering internships to HBCU students at major studios, networks, and talent agencies; it aims to equip the next generation of creatives for careers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This program is a collaboration among EICOP, the HBCU in LA Initiative and SAG-AFTRA and is funded by grants from both organizations as well as several private donors. In its inaugural year alone, 30 interns were placed within this program - these students also receive mentoring by top entertainment industry executives as well as training on writing pitches, networking techniques and more! HBCU in LA Training + Development Since 1865, students who attended historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made an indelible mark across nearly every professional field. From law to politics to science and the arts - from civil rights to athletics - HBCU alumni have left an enduring mark. From revolutionary leader Martin Luther King Jr. to Thurgood Marshall and Alice Walker serving on courts to NASA's first African American engineer Katherine Johnson who inspired hit movie Hidden Figures! Hollywood embraces historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with pride, which is evidenced by our industry's celebration of them in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman winning an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay while Samuel L. Jackson could only shout "The House!" upon hearing of it's success; Beyonce also included nods to HBCUs during her 2019 Coachella performance by including marching bands, live instrumentation and references to fraternities/sororities including Alpha Phi Alpha (in particular). HBCUs are making an impactful statement about their commitment to helping their local communities. Take University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), for instance; its community outreach initiatives focus on providing low-income populations an opportunity to learn about the advantages of higher education. LISC's National HBCU Talent Development program is another HBCU making an impactful statement about diversity within higher education. By placing 40 students into part-time internship positions with local LISC offices and other community development financial institutions (CDFIs), this initiative is the first nationwide effort to offer paid intern opportunities for HBCU students as a means of rectifying national disparities in internship opportunities between Black and White students, where Black students tend to receive significantly fewer paid internship opportunities compared to their white peers. As HBCUs make an ever-increasing impact in the world, they're also equipping students for careers in an ever-evolving workplace. Students learn creative and innovative thinking as they prepare themselves as leaders who promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace. That's why our community must support HBCUs any way we can - this ensures their long-term viability as the cornerstones of change for generations to come.

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