Browse Tag

hbcu

/

Black Veteran & HBCU Grad Creates A Seven-Figure Clothing Brand

HGC Apparel is a Black veteran owned clothing brand founded by Marcia Smith,  a 90’s kid who’s passionate about the uplifting and expansion of the Black community.

black veteran
HGC Apparel founder, Marcia Smith

In this interview, we discuss how this mother and Howard University grad’s time in the military influenced her entrepreneurial journey. We also discuss what she has done to find success online and how she protects her intellectual property.

Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel!

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Tees and Hoodies!

/

Master P Now Focused On Owning An HBCU Instead of an NBA Team

A few days ago, Master P (born Percy Miller) took to his Instagram account to announce his desire to own an HBCU.

“So, y’all know I always wanted to own an NBA team, but now I want to own an HBCU. It’s so important that we educate the culture. This message is all about educating our people,” he said during the video clip.

“I was shocked when I Googled who owned and founded HBCUs,” Miller said. “We can’t change the past but we can change the future by investing in the next generation. They going to have to sell some of these schools to us, or fund it the same way other major universities are funded.”

During the video, Miller expressed that he once had a desire to attend Southern University, an HBCU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He encouraged others to join the movement to ensure that the nation’s historically Black colleges are able to offer proper education to our children.

Tony O. Lawson

Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

//

Morris Brown College Partners With Hilton And Black Owned Real Estate Investment Firm To Build $30 Million Hotel On Campus

Morris Brown College will partner with Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Miami-based CGI Merchant Group to develop a $30 million hotel on the campus of the historically Black college.

On Thursday, the Morris Brown board of trustees approved the deal that will involve a long-term land lease on the school’s quadrangle and an overhaul of Griffin Hightower Hall, a low-rise building next to the historic Fountain Hall.

morris brown college
The Historic Fountain Hall

The project comes as Morris Brown tries to rebound from accreditation issues and as U.S. companies and philanthropic groups inject more money into schools within the Atlanta University Center to increase racial equity.

Crews will build a 150-room hotel under the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The project, which is funded through CGI’s recently launched $650 million Hospitality Opportunity Fund, will also include three restaurants and space to train students.

The “H-Fund”  focuses on acquiring and developing hotel properties throughout North American and Caribbean markets and target more than 20 hotels over the next three years. Partners in the fund include three-time Major League Baseball MVP and serial investor, Alex Rodriguez, and capital markets veteran and founder of Maverick CP, Adi Chugh.

“This is not just a commercial investment,” Raoul Thomas, founder, and CEO of CGI Merchant Group told Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We will be working with Hilton to support curriculum development and to provide guest lecturers.”

morris brown college
Raoul Thomas, CEO of CGI Merchant Group

The project will span 125,000 square feet near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in southwest Atlanta. A hotel will make up the largest portion of the project, 91,000 square feet.

It would provide needed hospitality space just walking distance from campus. The nearest hotel is about a half mile from Morris Brown College. The 195-room Reverb by Hard Rock opened late last year next to Mercedes Benz Stadium in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood.

Several universities in Atlanta, including Georgia Tech and Emory University have large on-campus hotels which host guests and conferences.

In addition to the hotel, plans also include 34,000 square feet of classrooms and an auditorium.

“My goal is to become one of the top institutions in the country for Black and Brown people to learn how to own, operate, and manage hotels,” said Kevin James who became president of Morris Brown in 2019.

morris brown college
Dr. Kevin E. James, 19th President, Morris Brown College

Founded in 1881, Morris Brown College is a private, liberal arts historically Black institution. It is considered the first college in Georgia to be operated by and for African-Americans.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the school had a notable hospitality management program.

Nearly 20 years ago, Morris Brown lost its accreditation after its former president and a financial aid director were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of fraud. While enrollment declined to fewer than 100 students, Morris Brown remained open.

In recent months the school has been making its way back.

Last month, members of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, an accrediting agency, toured the campus.

In April, the group is set to vote on whether to make Morris Brown a candidate for accreditation. That would clear the way for the school to receive full accreditation within five years.

It will take money to get Morris Brown College back on its feet—to accommodate students, renovate its facilities and hire faculty and staff. But amid calls for racial justice and greater equity, corporate purses are wide open, as indicated by recent donations to other colleges in the Atlanta University Center complex.

“This is not a one and done contribution,” Thomas said. “The school will share directly in the [hotel’s] profits,” he said declining to give further details.

In addition to the profit-sharing agreement, CGI Merchant Group will establish a six-figure endowment for student financial aid.

The hotel is currently in the design phase. CGI Merchant Group tapped Atlanta-based C.D. Moody Construction and Chasm Architecture for the project.

The hotel at Morris Brown is expected to open in the summer of 2023.

Investors are optimistic that the completion date will give the hospitality industry time to rebound from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and also provide ample time for Morris Brown to bounce back.

“This announcement should definitely open the eyes of those who want to work in hospitality,” said James who anticipates prospective students will be excited to “be a part of the resurrection class [at Morris Brown], and attend a school that has its own hotel in one of the top cities for hospitality in the country,” he said.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Tees and Hoodies!

/

Charles White Painting Missing For Decades From Howard University Turns Up At Sotheby’s

A painting by a noted artist Charles White vanished from Howard University in the 1970s and hadn’t been seen publicly until it turned up at Sotheby’s Auction House last month — and now the school is suing to get back the piece that they believe was stolen from them decades ago.

Howard University, acquired the artwork, “Centralia Madonna,” in the 1940s after its creator, Charles White, completed an artist-in-residency at the school, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

The ink drawing depicts an African American Madonna figure and had been in the university’s possession until at least 1974, when a graduate student viewed the work in the school’s collection and made a record of the piece, according to the suit.

charles white
Centralia Madonna

At some point soon after, the artwork was stolen from the school’s collection and marked as “missing” by a university curator in 1976, according to the lawsuit.

Staff at the university hadn’t been able to locate it in the decades since — until Sotheby’s Auction House in Manhattan contacted them in May to let them know it had been consigned and was scheduled to be put up for auction.

Charles White in his Los Angeles studio, 1970 photo: Robert A. Nakamura

Staff at the auction house told administrators at Howard that two people from South Carolina, Larry and Virginia Borders, had consigned the painting but provided no paperwork showing how it ended up in their personal collection, according to the suit.

The Borders gave shifting stories about how they acquired the work, first saying they received it as a wedding gift from someone named J.D. Kibler in 1972, according to the suit.

charles white
Charles White, 1943, Photograph by Gordon Parks at age 25

They allegedly changed their story, claiming Kibler gave it to them as a gift for no particular reason — but couldn’t expand on their relationship with him, or even provide his first name.

“They claimed J.D. Kibler to be a close friend, they stated that they did not know what the ‘J.D.’ stood for,” the suit states.

In several phone calls and emails this week, the university demanded the Borders return the painting to the school, which the pair refused to do, according to the lawsuit.

The university filed the suit Friday, seeking the artwork’s return and attorney fees related to the legal action. The case is Howard University v Borders, 20-cv-4716, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(L-R) Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederickand Gwendolyn H. Everett, Ph.D., director of the Howard University Gallery of Art and associate dean for the Division of Fine Arts beside Five Great American Negroes, at the Howard University Law Library

The couple’s “claims are all the more implausible given that Howard University has never sold or de-accessioned any work from its collection, and would certainly not sell or de-accession a work by Charles White, a hugely significant Black artist with strong ties to the university,” Howard said in its lawsuit.

In addition to purchasing several of his works, Howard appointed White to a three-year professorship shortly before his death.

In a statement, Sotheby’s said they are a third-party and the ownership dispute involves the Borders and Howard.

“This is an ownership dispute between the University and the consignors, which follows Sotheby’s due diligence in researching the work’s provenance,” the auction house said.

“Sotheby’s is merely a third-party stakeholder and will comply with any decision of the court,” it added.

 

Sources: New York Post and Bloomberg


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

/

2020 Howard University Graduate Earns Ph.D. at Age 73

On April 26, 2020, Florence Didigu, 73, defended her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. in Communication, Culture and Media Studies. Her dissertation and future book titled, “Igbo Collective Memory of the Nigeria – Biafra War (1967-1970): Reclaiming Forgotten Women’s Voices and Building Peace through a Gendered Lens,” is a reflection of the Igbo women who, like herself, survived the war.

Howard Grad
Florence Didigu

Didigu, who is the oldest of five sisters, is graduating from Howard University with her fourth degree as a prestigious Sasakawa and Annenberg Fellow. She is thankful to have made it across many hurdles.

“In my second year at Howard, and very close to my screening test, I lost my mother and my father within months,” said Didigu. “I had to return to Nigeria each time to perform the demanding burial ceremonies for each. I was completely deflated, both physically and emotionally, but I persevered because my father always wanted me to be a ‘Doctor.’”

Didigu also battled shingles, which paralyzed the right side of her face and she lost her voice. It was symbolic because it’s her life’s work is to elevate more Igbo women’s voices too. “I was unable to speak clearly; this was the greatest tragedy of all since I was teaching a sophomore research course! The day I started speaking again and was discharged from the hospital was a special life moment.”

Yet, what she overcame 50 years ago, the Nigerian-Biafra War, a civil war between the Igbo people and the Nigerian government, is one challenge she will never forget.

“The day the Nigeria-Biafra War ended, I, like everyone was wallowing in anxiety and fear about what would happen to us as the vanquished. A very optimistic gentleman came over to me and asked: ‘Why are you so sad; can’t you see you have survived this terrible war?’ I stood up, even though the Nigerian Airforce was on its last bombing raid, and leaped up in the air in mad glee, repeating to myself and others: ‘Yes, I have survived, I am a survivor!’ This powerful survival instinct in me, which I call daring, and God’s help, are what made me overcome all personal challenges during my doctoral program and get to where I am today!”

She was once a producer and writer at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and a broadcast regulator at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Nigeria prior to 2000. Upon graduation, Didigu plans to enter the professoriate and become a book author. She recently took courses at Howard in the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. She plans to continue research and scholarly writings, as well as mentoring students to inspire and educate “the future generation that will move this discipline forward and tackle the communications-oriented challenges of the future.”

Carolyn Byerly, Ph.D.,  Didigu’s advisor and chair of the Communication, Culture and Media Studies doctoral program, noticed the excellence within her, noting that “she embodies endurance and intellectual determination.”

“I admire the way she delved inside the most painful period of her life to find the focus of her research on women, war and peace.  While a personally-driven project, she maintained the highest level of integrity and never made the research outcome about herself.  Florence received the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship in her last year to conduct interviews with 10 female survivors of that war, and she used feminist standpoint theory to interpret their stories.  It is a beautifully researched, theorized and written dissertation that demonstrates exceptional Howard scholarship.”

 

Source: Howard.edu

/

FAMU Secures $750,000 in Federal Scholarship Funds to Attract Students To Study Agriculture and Food Sciences

Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) received $752,632 in federal funds for scholarships to attract high achieving students.

Funding from this 1890 Scholarship Program will provide 49 new scholarships for entering freshmen to pursue and obtain their baccalaureate degrees in food and agricultural sciences from FAMU in four years, and for qualified, transfer students in two years.

“The timing of this scholarship funding could not be more opportune,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “The present circumstances reinforce the need for us to train more scholars who can make advances in issues such as food security and create other opportunities in agriculture. These funds will allow FAMU to bring much needed and diverse talent to this area of critical need for our nation.”

The funding is one of 19 awards totaling $14 million to 1890 land grant colleges, which are historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The funding is made possible through NIFA’s 1890 Scholarships Program, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. FAMU alumnus U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., is credited with the scholarship appropriation’s inclusion in the legislation.

The grant program seeks to address a critical question facing the food and agricultural sciences industry, how does it attract more talented young, diverse persons into agricultural jobs, said CAFS Dean Robert Taylor.

“Indeed, this continues to be the major question that is being asked by faculty and administrators in the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences at FAMU, as it tries to respond to the low, and in some cases, declining enrollment in some of its critical academic programs,” Taylor said.

With state and federal funding for education on the decline, the student debt burden continues to be high. The overall goal of this 1890 Scholarships Program is to address that issue by providing scholarships to support the recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training of outstanding students as they pursue baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences in CAFS at FAMU.

Scholars will be recruited from across Florida and from neighboring states, such as Georgia and Alabama. High achieving students will be invited to apply to the FAMU 1890 Scholarship Program. In order to be selected, students must meet or exceed the stated criteria for the various scholarships advertised.

“This funding will help CAFS cultivate and graduate more diverse leaders, who will be well equipped to address and solve future emerging challenges in food and agricultural sciences,” Taylor said.

 

Source: FAMU News


Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

/

Howard University to receive $13 Million as part of Coronavirus Stimulus Package

The Senate unanimously passed an approximately $2.2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday night in an effort to jump-start an economy severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This coronavirus response package makes millions of dollars in funding available for Howard University through September 2021.

howard university
Washington DC, Howard University campus sign. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

The draft legislation calls for $13 million “to remain available through September 30, 2021, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including to help defray the expenses directly caused by coronavirus and to enable grants to students for expenses directly related to coronavirus and the disruption of university operations.”

As you can imagine, not everyone is happy about this news. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz took to Twitter, saying , “$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19. Instead, it’s going to Howard University. Education is important- but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”

What Gaetz failed to realize is that Howard is a federally chartered university that is rightfully owed emergency funding because Congressional appropriations fund the school, which also runs Howard University Hospital, a medical facility that has been designated one of DC’s COVID-19 treatment facilities.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

/

Howard University Teams With Amazon Studios To Launch Howard Entertainment

Howard University and Amazon Studios have teamed to launch Howard Entertainment, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other marginalized populations to train and study alongside entertainment executives.

Howard Entertainment

The immersive program, which kicks off January 2020, will be two semesters and take place in Los Angeles. It will include a unique interdisciplinary curriculum and will also include hands-on work as well as an opportunity to network with Amazon’s industry partners.

It will offer Howard University students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship embedded in the entertainment industry during the summer semester. The coursework will be applied to the student’s graduation requirements.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.

Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next level collaboration will enable us to have even greater impact.”

Howard Entertainment

“Amazon Studios has been working to create new pathways into the industry for talented students of all backgrounds and we are proud to team with Howard on this new program supporting aspiring entertainment leaders” adds Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

“As we strive to delight our Prime Video customers, we’re ensuring there are diverse perspectives and experiences around the table to help us make the best decisions in all aspects of the business.”

Howard Entertainment

To qualify, students must be enrolled as a Howard University student, must be an upperclassman or graduate student and will have to complete an application and interview to be considered for the program.

Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This will give students to work in projects that offer “real world” application and will help students develop “work ready” skills prior to graduating.

Source: Deadline

/

Billionaire Robert Smith to pay off Morehouse Class of 2019’s student loans

Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate at Morehouse College’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.

But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the billionaire technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire Class of 2019.

“This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”

The announcement elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III is a member of the Class of 2019, estimates that his student loans are right at about $70,000.

“I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she said.

The gift has been estimated at $40 million.

 

Source and feature image: AJC

/

Ancient Modern: Designer Hadiya Williams on Her Work and Inspiration

In 2018, we’re launching a new section: Aesthetics + Design. Our love of architecture, the arts and timeless design is married to our commitment to supporting the brilliant creatives that produce the work that adds value and beauty to our lives. Featuring architects, curators, artists, creators and makers, we’re excited to celebrate those most visually talented amongst us. Additionally, we’ll be sharing inspiration from homes and spaces that inspire.

For our inaugural feature, we sat down with Washington, D.C. based designer, Hadiya Williams, whose design has left in indelible mark on our lives, literally and figuratively. She was the mastermind behind our gorgeous wedding invitations for the #BlackestWeddingEver bka the ORIGINAL Jolloff and Jambalaya. (Believe it or not, some people actually stole our hashtag. Can you imagine?) But I digress.  She also recently completed a few larger scale projects in our Philadelphia home that was featured on HGTV’s Sneak Peek with AphroChic.

Check out what Hadiya had to say about her own personal aesthetic and process and look forward to more gorgeous inspiration to come.

Shantrelle P. Lewis

SB: Where are you from and how did you start working in design?

HW: I was born and raised in Washington, DC. I started designing while I was attending Bowie State University. I decided to take some computer graphics classes for an elective. I fell in love with the class and continued to teach myself how to use the design software. I eventually received by BFA in Graphic Design from Columbia College in Chicago.

SB: HBCU LOVE! And shout out to Columbia College. The Museum of Contemporary Photography(MoCP), on Columbia’s campus where Dandy Lion was on view in 2014, was one of the best things that ever happened to my career. Oh wait, you actually came to Chicago and saw the show there.

HW: I did! It was great to be back in the city. And of course, the exhibit was all of the things.

SB: Please describe what you do. How you self identify? As an artist? Designer? Creator?

HW: I would call myself all of the above. Depends on what I’m discussing or referring to. Ultimately, I am an artist. I know for a fact that what I do is art. I work intuitively most of the time. My work evokes emotion and very rooted in spirituality. Always has been.

SB: What inspired you to launch your 100 days of Black and white?

HW: I follow designer and book artist @eisroughdraft on IG. She shared a creative challenge, #The100DayProject with Elle Luna & The Great Discontent and I decided to do it. I was in a really tough space, creatively, at the time and thought the challenge would be a good way to help me focus and explore what I could do within that space. I had no idea how dramatic that release would be. I highly recommend a challenge like this where you do something for at least 21 days.

SB: What gave you gumption to start Black Pepper Paperie?

HW: #theblackestweddingever was the tipping point for me actually starting my business.  I did the invitation for this dope ass wedding which we all knew would be out of this world.

No one could have know just how amazing that experience would be. I came back from New Orleans in a completely different state of mind.

Before I left I was focused on working at my nonprofit gig and building up my position there. But I got back home and I knew I had to do work that I loved and that was exciting.

I began to plant the seeds for my stationery/event design business. Hence the “paperie” part of my name. I was pumped about that but there was still a part of it that I hadn’t figured out. I’m still learning and figuring out where this is going but it’s going definitely in the right direction.

SB: What are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of owning your own business?

HW: The most challenging part about my business, so far is the learning. I have spent my career learning technical skills and design and being very focused with in the graphic design world.

Being an entrepreneur requires you to know so much more outside of art and design. That part is definitely challenging for me as a creative person. Like many artists, I just want to make shit.

The rewarding part, however, is the learning. Lol. Everyday I am faced with a new challenge. Creative and otherwise.

SB: Where do you pull inspiration? Who or what are your muses?

HW:  Black women. I am surrounded by an array of amazing, talented, dynamic women who guide me. They’re my muses. I’m also inspired by so many things around me. I have tons of design books, I go to vintage shops, thrift stores, outdoor markets, Pinterest.

I love West African art and design. It has always influenced my design thinking and the way I see.

SB: Tell me about your favorite personal/professional project?

HW: Ha! So, recently I painted designs on two walls in this home in Philly. Of course this is your home. That was something I hadn’t explored before and almost told myself that I wasn’t capable of. I consider it a favorite because it taught me that I have so much more work to do. And it reminded me that my work is spiritual.

I was inspired by the home itself and the history of the historically Black neighborhood, you and Tony’s roots in West African culture, and the open-minded spirit and boldness that you have.

Your curatorial work is bold and is all about taking risks. No one really thinks of home decor as risk-taking but it is the place where we are our most vulnerable and most comfortable. It says so much about who we are or at least it should. When people see our living space, if we are fortunate, it should tell them what we value most.

SB: Is there such a thing as a Black or African aesthetic?

HW: I think there is a thing that comes from Blackness that is innate, intuitive, not something that can be counted and measured. You know it when you see it and you actually feel the aesthetic, energetically.

I don’t think there is one specific aesthetic that is Black or African. I believe that we have a common aesthetic thread throughout the Diaspora.

The way we create music, dance, paint, and experience art in many forms, is connected. The evolved version of Black Americans is still connected to the Continent.

The same for the Caribbean. We all belong to each other. We consistently birth new art forms everyday. We are the cultural creators of the world.

SB: How would you describe your own personal aesthetic?

HW: Currently, my work is an amalgamation of West African cultural art, Black American cultural art and design, and early 20th century, western, abstract art and design that is essentially an appropriation or reinterpretation of West African art forms.

People who see my work tend to know or think they know it’s mine. So clearly I have an aesthetic, I have not found the words to describe it yet.

SB: What’s on your coffee table?

HW: A handmade vase from a fellow ceramics classmate, a book of matches, candle, my “genie bottle,” Dandy Lion by Shantrelle P. Lewis, Black Panther by Emory Douglas, Remix by AphroChic, The House Book, a Fire!! reprint, Black Society by Gerri Major, Taschen Publishing’s Logo Modernism.

SB: These days I’m becoming more and more selective about the kind of images I want to see in my social media fees. Who should we be following on IG? 

@BLKMKTVintage, @nicolecrowder, @justinablakeney, @andreapippins @ShoppeBlack, @nayyirahwaheed, @xnasozi, @tactilematter, @Afrominimalist @WalkieChatter, @ProfessionalBlackGirl and @Nachesnow. There are more but these are the first to come to mind.

SB: Lastly, what are tools that you can’t live without?

HW: My laptop.My cell phone (camera). #2 HB Pencils.

You can follow Hadiya on IG at @hadiyawilliams and @blackpepperpaperieco or visit blackpepperpaperie.com to inquire about projects, to purchase items and for more information.