BLACK VOICES

Common Stresses The Importance Of Giving Back To HBCUs

The artist is helping raise $250,000 in scholarships for students.
Common said his HBCU had a positive impact on his life.
Common said his HBCU had a positive impact on his life.

Common wants to support students at historically black colleges and universities in a major way.

The rapper/actor/activist has teamed up with Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation to raise up to $250,0000 in scholarship funds for students at HBCUs. 

The Chicago native, who went to Florida A&M University and currently has a daughter at Howard University, told The Huffington Post that he’s helping HBCU students thanks, in part, to how he felt inspired during his days as an undergrad. 

My experience was special because I was meeting young, black inspiring students who were from all over the country,” said Common. “You were surrounded by people who were focused on education and in the same token, our professors and people that were dedicated to seeing us thrive… they were really, really supportive. It all was to our benefit. I wouldn’t have had that experience going to a non-HBCU.”

Even though they are educational pillars in black America, many of these schools are suffering from unequal government funding, declining enrollment and poor leadership. Some, like Cheney University and Morris Brown College, are on the verge of closing. Others have shut down operations completely.

 “This is part of our history, part of our tradition,” he said. “It’s black institutions in America that reinforce who we are and support who we are and nurture who we are. So it’s important that we respect and honor and preserve and enhance those institutions. It’s a way for us to acknowledge our blackness in America ― it’s beautiful.”

As a part of this initiative, which lasts until November 30, Allstate will donate $10 for each person who receives a quote from a participating agent and mentions it’s “Quotes for Education” initiative. People can also sign up for quotes online

I think the young black generation... are the ones who are going to change things in the biggest way,” he said of why he’s giving back. “It’s like giving them the opportunity to be fully prepared and giving them all the resources and giving them the chance to see things and dream and get education and get like opportunities and those things so they can bring all who they are to change [society] for the better for the black community and communities across the world. That’s the most important thing we can do right now. Support them.”