Chance the Rapper is a huge proponent of education, having recently donated 30,000 backpacks to Chicago students in celebration of back-to-school season. Well, it looks like Lil’ Chano from 79th desires to attain some advanced knowledge himself because he’s on the hunt for higher education!

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Specifically, he has his sights set on an HBCU. What’s his choice? Chance took to Twitter to announce his top pick:



It’s Clark Atlanta Universty! While many colleges have awarded celebrities with honorary degrees, Chance wants to go all in. Basically, he wants the full college experience! I can’t help but think that -- other than his celebrity status -- his community services should warrant him extra credit in the admissions process.

His initial public interest actually resulted in a hilarious Twitter beef when Morehouse’s Twitter account tried to hit Chance with the “wyd?” or “hey, bighead” type tweet.



CAU wasn’t having it, though. They weren’t going to let Chance slip through their fingers. So, the school clapped back with:



Ha! Let me get my popcorn ready.

Seriously, though, I am thrilled that Chance wants to venture toward higher education! That way, when he’s encouraging higher education to those who look up to them, he can also look the part.

Sending good vibes to you Chance and we can’t wait to see which school you end up with!

What do you think about Chance’s venture into higher education? What school would you like to see him attend?
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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.
Photo courtesy of Florida A&M University Facebook page

Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com

Last week, before news headlines became consumed by Sally Yates’ stellar testimony and James Comey’s dismissal, Donald Trump issued a signing statement on the $1.1 trillion omnibus government spending bill. In this statement, Trump singled out the Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program as a funding bill provision that “allocates benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender.” The statement suggested that Trump, the guy responsible for the travel ban and appointing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, views such funding as discriminatory.

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Trump (much like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos) lacks an awareness of the history of HBCUs and the enormous contributions these esteemed institutions make to the nation. Of course, this is not surprising considering the prior statements he’s made on the state of Black American communities and his Black History Month remarks on Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If he’d simply read ( or have someone read to him) the U.S Department of Education’s pamphlet on HBCU history, then he’d surely benefit from understanding the following facts about HBCUs.

1. The first structured higher education system for Black students, the Institute for Colored Youth, was founded in Cheyney, Pennsylvania in 1837 because law and public policy prohibited the education of Blacks in various parts of the nation.

2. Following the Civil War, racial segregation denied entry of Blacks to traditionally White institutions. The Second Morrill Act of 1890 provided a land-grant institution for black students whenever a land-grant institution was established and restricted for white students and such public land-grant institutions specifically for blacks were established in each of the southern and border states.

3. In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision established a “separate but equal” doctrine in public education thus validating racial segregation in education and making the existence of HBCUs integral to the higher educational needs of Blacks.

4. Although HBCUs exist because of America’s history of racial segregation, these institutions are open and accessible to all students regardless of race, color or ethnicity. Today, HBCUs are more racially desegregated in regard to staff and enrollment than traditionally White institutions.

5. By 1953, such institutions as Hampton Institute, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Fisk University and Tuskegee Institute were primarily responsible for educating teachers, ministers, lawyers, doctors and other pillars of the Black community in a racially segregated society.

6. Today, HBCUs award nearly half of baccalaureate degrees earned by Black college students.

7. HBCUs lead the pack in terms of the segment of graduates who go onto pursue and finish graduate degrees and professional training programs.

8. Currently, 75% of Blacks with doctorate degrees, 75% of Black officers in the armed forces and 80% of Black federal judges can credit their undergraduate education to HBCUs. In fact, Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison for the Trump administration, received her undergraduate degree from Central State University and her graduate degree from Howard University—both of which are HBCUs.

9. The leading institutions for awarding bachelor’s degrees in scientific, mathematical and engineering concentrations are HBCUs. One great example is Lonnie George Johnson, a Black scholar who invented the Super Soaker and made enormous contributions to the U.S. Air Force Weapons Laboratory, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the development of solid state batteries. He was educated at Tuskegee University, an HBCU.

10. HBCUs also benefit traditionally White research universities because half of the Black faculty employed at these institutions received their bachelor’s degrees at an HBCU.

Did you attend an HBCU? Share your experience and school history in the comments section.
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Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.
Photo Credit: Hopper Stone

Dillard University will be setting a spark at their 2017 Commencement ceremony as the Electric Lady herself, Janelle Monáe has been confirmed as the Commencement speaker!

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The multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and CoverGirl spokesperson has recently made waves as an actor in Hollywood this past award season, double-dipping in Academy Award nominated Hidden Figures and big Academy Award winner Moonlight. She is also known for her activism, speaking out against police brutality, raising money for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, and recently launching Fem the Future to advance awareness, inclusion and opportunities for those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education. In January, after the most recent presidential election, she spoke and performed at the Women's March on Washington that drew a record-breaking crowd.

Hidden Figures, in particular, inspired her advocacy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research and advancement. During the press tour for the award-winning film Monáe spoke with Teen Vogue and urged the importance of images on-screen noting, “I hope we see more girls from all backgrounds working in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] as a result of it being on-screen.”

“Janelle Monáe’s significant accomplishments in music and particularly, film and STEM, both signature programs here at Dillard, along with her activism made her the ideal person to deliver a timely message to our graduates,” President Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D., said. “I believe this is her first commencement speech and we are very excited to see this day come.”

Given her advocacy for STEM, the arts, and social justice, she is sure to reach every bit of the more than 160 undergraduates being honored at the ceremony with her words.

Dillard’s 81st Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.
Photo: Florida A&M University Office of Communications
Written by Mike Orie of Afrotrak.com

Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication is expected to launch the first ever 24-hour Black news network in February 2018. Named the Black Television News Channel, the network is expected to bring in over 100 jobs, drawing in an average of $30 million annually.

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On Friday, February 24th, FAMU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included attendees such as FAMU alumnus and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who applauded the BTNC partners and owners former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. and former Tallahassee Mayor John Marks according to Tallahassee.com.

"For the first time, people will be able to tune into the Black Television News Channel and watch what is happening in America through another dimension and another story. Where else better for it to start than here at FAMU?," said Rep. Al Lawson.

FAMU students are expected to benefit from the networks presence on campus with offerings in digital media, virtual reality, broadcasting and networking. In 2014, FAMU signed an 11-year agreement to serve as the headquarters of the BTNC.

"This partnership is not only unprecedented change, it's game changing," FAMU interim president Larry Robinson said. "I believe this partnership will be among those that will be chronicled in history in terms of allowing us to reach a larger spectrum of individuals to tell them more about their own culture and perspective that they can appreciate."

The network will include distribution through DirecTV, Dish Network and Charter Communications.

It's goal is to provide a platform similar to what Univision and Telemundo have created for the Hispanic community. "We talk about the unemployment rate for African American males being like 15%, but guess what, the employment rate is about 85%. You don't hear from that perspective," says Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.

BTNC estimates an audience of 33 million during its initial launch in February. It has one goal: To offer information, education and entertainment for an African American audience.




What are your thoughts on the launch of this new network? What do you think is currently missing in the media that BTNC could possibly provide more of?
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Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie