While there are many other HBCUs doing the damn thing, Howard University, the real HU continually to make strides among others, setting an example of what is to come for HBCUs as a whole. They aren't called "The Mecca" for no reason.
On October 28th, Howard University competed against the prestigious Harvard University in a competition known as "The Great Debate". For the second year in a row, the little ole HBCU in Washington, DC has reigned victorious over arguably the top school in the nation. The competition took place at the 54th annual NAACP state convention in Hartford, Connecticut in front of almost 10,000 attendees. The Howard debate team was made up of four students, senior Virgil Parker, juniors Michael Franklin and David Edgerton, III, and freshman Nadrat Amos. “The Howard versus Harvard debate was an extraordinary experience that I hope inspired its listeners to pay more attention to issues affecting civil society,” said Parker.
Their team is led by Angela Minor Esq., an associate professor in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Forensics Program. Minor said, “When Howard University debates Harvard University it always renders amazing talent from both teams! It is my distinct honor and privilege to coach the Howard University Speech and Debate Team. These types of events allow Harvard and Howard to showcase their intellectual prowess and argumentation on matters concerning all Americans, regardless of race, creed or color!"
Congrats to these young men and women; keep proving to the world that HBCUs are in fact the superior institutions. You can watch the entire debate here.
To continue, Howard University recently started a partnership with Amazon Studios to bring Howard Students to the west coast for two semesters of their studies to gain hands on industry experience. Amazon is looking to extend the pipeline of minorities in entertainment and what better way than to start with a university that has produced the likes of Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson, Laz Alonso, and Chadwick Boseman.
The program is being called Howard Entertainment and it's set to kickoff in Spring 2020, based in Los Angeles, CA. The program is open to Howard students that are interested in various entertainment careers. Since these are still students, they will still be taking classes. Courses will include project green lighting, public relations, entertainment marketing, entertainment law and finance, which all will be co-taught by Howard University faculty and entertainment industry leaders.
Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of HU said, "We have been looking at our workforce development opportunities through a slightly different lens. Rather than the regular internship model, especially for underrepresented and low income students — that model, especially for unpaid internships, and so on, is difficult, as well as the progression to matriculation isn't there.” He elaborated and said the main advantages of Howard Entertainment are two fold - “One, is that the students get a more contemporary preparation for participation in the job market. But the secondary impact which I think is just as critical as that, the faculty get an exposure to that contemporary experience as well. So that they can come back and disrupt the curriculum and really make sure that they’re giving students an opportunity.”
We cannot wait to see what comes of this and what other HBCUs Amazon Studios or other large studios want to reach out to other HBCUs to create a similar pipeline.