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Meet the 10 Hampton University Students Receiving Spotify NextGen's Scholarship

02/05/2024

Spotify is committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, and that starts with empowering the creators who will shape our industry's future.

NextGen is Spotify's ongoing program designed to infuse, activate, and grow podcast and creator culture on college campuses. Through our Creator Equity Fund (CEF), we've expanded NextGen to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Spelman College, Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Hampton University.

This year, the program has funded $60,000 in scholarships to Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. Each student will be awarded $6,000 toward the 2023-24 academic school year.

After a competitive selection process, we are excited to announce this year's 10 scholarship recipients: Ayan Ar-Raheem Harris, Bella May, Caitlyn Fitzpatrick, HoneyRose Smith, Isaac Harris, Nyla Adams, Riana Ward, Samiyah Hall, Sophia Guerra, and Trinity Polk.

Learn more about these talented students and their aspirations.

Ayan Ar-Raheem Harris (she/her) Junior, Journalism

How can scholarships and learning opportunities like Spotify's NextGen help HBCU students? By offering scholarships and mentorship opportunities, Spotify's NextGen initiative alleviates the financial burden on HBCU students and empowers us to pursue our academic and career goals.

Who are some creators of color who inspire you, and if you could collaborate with any of them, whom would you choose and why? Issa Rae and Ryan Coogler are two phenomenal talents. From Insecure to Black Panther, Rae and Coogler have changed the impact of Black film and television within the last decade. If I could work with them, I would tell more stories about young adults in college, especially at HBCUs.

What's one thing you hope to achieve personally or professionally as a creator? I want to create a platform for young Black women in film to collaborate and network. I hope to inspire more Black girls to engage in the visual arts.

What's your favorite Spotify playlist, podcast, or audiobook? My favorite playlist on Spotify is Quinta Brunson's Taste-it's the perfect blend of R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and neo-soul. My favorite podcast is NPR's Code Switch. Each episode I gain insights into my culture, both in America and abroad.

Bella May (she/her) Junior, Journalism

How can scholarships and learning opportunities like Spotify's NextGen help HBCU students? As an HBCU student, it is important to recognize that this world has not always stood for equality, and resources and tools have not been equally distributed. Thus, scholarships and learning opportunities like Spotify's NextGen support Black students. Those students-like myself-can achieve their dreams thanks to it. Simply put, we are paving the way for our careers.

Who are some creators of color who inspire you, and if you could collaborate with any of them, whom would you choose and why? The authenticity and family-oriented dynamic of Jeannette Reyes inspires me. Jeannette is a former FOX 5 DC anchor whose Dominican and Black cultures bleed into her work. It is also evident that she is a mother, a wife, and a daughter. It would be a dream to work with Jeannette since she embodies everything I strive to be: a bilingual and authentic journalist who puts family first.

What's one thing you hope to achieve personally or professionally as a creator? As a creator, I strive to bridge the gap between communities and facilitate these important conversations. It is not a black or white world; there is so much gray in between. The goal is to impact and influence the younger generation in every community. I will start as a journalist and end as a news anchor.

What's your favorite Spotify playlist, podcast, or audiobook? My favorite Spotify playlist would have to be one I created called Baddie. There are a lot of songs on the playlist that lift me up when I'm down and make me feel empowered.

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick (she/her) Sophomore, Journalism

How can scholarships and learning opportunities like Spotify's NextGen help HBCU students? Learning opportunities and scholarships can help HBCU students because they influence students to follow their dreams without having to worry about how they will have to pay for them. Giving students these resources also helps them take over for the next generation!

Who are some creators of color who inspire you, and if you could collaborate with any of them, whom would you choose and why? Jayla Henry, Monet McMichael, and Keith Lee. Henry because I always watch her videos and keep up with her lifestyle, both of us are from the Midwest, and I love how she spends quality time with her family. I chose McMichael because she is my favorite person to see vlog her day, and I love how she expresses herself with her beauty and grace. Lastly, I chose Lee because he is a man of his word and he always inspires and helps the community, which I also strive to do.

What's one thing you hope to achieve personally or professionally as a creator? I hope to have my own sports agency one day and to continue with my podcast, The Blackfluence Podcast, in the future.

What's your favorite Spotify playlist, podcast, or audiobook? That would have to be my podcast, The Blackfluence Podcast.

HoneyRose Smith (she/her) Freshman, Journalism

How can scholarships and learning opportunities like Spotify's NextGen help HBCU students? Scholarships and learning opportunities allow us to receive valuable information and financial aid, decreasing the burden of paying for school. This, in turn, allows us to flourish as students.

Who are some creators of color who inspire you, and if you could collaborate with any of them, whom would you choose and why? Some creators of color who inspire me are @ju
LINK: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2024-05-02/meet-the-10-hampton-university...
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