Civil Rights Leader Al Sharpton and Professor and Bestselling Author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson to Speak at TSU Dual Commencements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned activist and civil rights leader, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Georgetown University professor and bestselling author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, will be the commencement speakers at Tennessee State University’s dual spring graduation ceremonies.

Sharpton will speak on Friday, May 3, at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, May 4, Dyson will address undergraduate students in Hale Stadium. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

Overall, more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines.

Sharpton, a community leader, politician, minister and civil-rights activist, serves as the host of Politics Nation on MSNBC. With more than 40 years of experience as an advocate, he is one of America’s most renowned civil rights leaders. He has held such notable positions as the youth director of New York’s Operation Breadbasket, director of ministers for the National Rainbow Push coalition, and founder of his own broad-based progressive civil rights organization, the National Action Network.

Known for taking up the fight on behalf of the underdog in his pursuit of justice and equality, Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. In 2014, he came to the university to take up the cause to have TSU’s 1957- 1959 Men’s Championship Basketball Team, the first-ever to win three national titles back-to back, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

He joined university officials and staff, including President Glenda Glover, state officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presented his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall.

As a result of Sharpton’s efforts and that of many others including TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on April 7 that the Tennessee State men’s basketball championship teams of 1957-59 will be one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class will be celebrated at this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, September 5-7.

Dyson, the undergraduate commencement speaker, also known as a preacher and radio host, has authored or edited more than 20 books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye and Hurricane Katrina. He has received several awards for his literary work, including three NAACP Image Awards and the Southern Book Prize.

Dyson’s book, “Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster,” for which he received the American Book Award, analyzes the political and social events in the wake of the catastrophe against the backdrop of an overall “failure in race and class relations.”

 A longtime educator, Dyson taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University, DePaul University and the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information on commencement, visithttp://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit part of NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit will be part of the NFL Draft when it comes to the Music City on April 25.

The university’s renowned Aristocrat of Bands is in a promotional advertising the draft. But probably the biggest display of TSU spirit will take place on April 27 when Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie announces the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Christion made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Christion has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

On April 25, TSU President Glenda Glover will host a luncheon and tour for the Professional Football Players Mothers Association and friends. The event follows a “Salute to Greatness” reception/dinner on April 12 that celebrated former TSU football players who competed in the pros.

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues. Twenty-one former Tigers played in Super Bowls.

“it’s part of the TSU football legacy,” said Glover of the event celebrating the former players. “They came here as students, and left here as greats.”

One of those greats is Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft. Jones said he can relate to the anticipation and nervousness draft hopefuls are likely experiencing.

“I was a big Cowboy fan growing up,” said Jones, who will announce Dallas’ pick at the draft. “To be the first overall pick, go to the team of my choice, it was mind-boggling.”

To view the Aristocrat of Bands NFL Draft promotional, visit https://player.vimeo.com/external/330512639.hd.mp4?s=687f1a06fe39ec760f3d30476ee760a9c2b3c55c&profile_id=174.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Hosts Successful Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Over 1,000 high school students from across the nation descended upon Tennessee State University on April 13 for Spring Preview Day 2019.

The day started with check in and a student organization fair in the Gentry Center Complex where student leaders, campus administrators, faculty and staff welcomed the students and their parents to campus.

Terrance Izzard (Submitted photo)

 “We are elated that you have chosen to spend today with us here at Tennessee State.  We already know that you are on one of the most phenomenal campuses in the United States of America,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success  “The HBCU experience is an experience like none other, and I want to say to each parent and grandparent and aunt, thank you for bringing your student here.”

The high school students and their parents departed the Gentry Center in groups led by TSU students eager to serve as their guides for the day. Activities for the visitors, according to organizers, included meetings with academic departments, TSU student organizations, campus tours, and other forms of educational entertainment.

Future TSU Tiger Brandon Jones (center), with his mom, Sadera Baker (left), and his step-father, Stephen Baker (right), moments before heading to the Blue and White Spring scrimmage in Hale Stadium. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Like many other students visiting for Spring Preview, Brandon Jones, a student at Georgia Military College, has already committed to Tennessee State University.  A football player, Jones had the opportunity to meet former NFL cornerback and TSU football player Randy Fuller during his campus tour.

“I already signed, and I report June 1,” Jones said.  “I really like the family atmosphere at TSU. It feels like home. So really, it’s the best fit for me.”

Mikaylah Abercrombie, a junior at New Manchester High School in Atlanta, said although she has not committed to TSU, she is impressed by the university.

“My cousin, Christion attended TSU, and I liked it when I saw him playing football.  And I just want to check it out,” she said.

Atlanta-native Mikaylah Abercrombie with her mother, Freda Abercrombie at TSU Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Abercrombie’s mother, Freda Abercrombie, who joined her for Spring Preview Day, said the university’s response after her nephew, Chistion Ambercrombie, suffered a life-threatning injury during a game against Vanderbilt University on Sept. 29, really touched her heart.

“Actually I just got a good vibe from his experience here, and after the accident, all of the love and support that the school gave was awesome.  We  just fell in love with TSU, and I wanted to make sure my daughter at least checked out the school for herself.”

Mikaylah, who hopes to study early childhood education or musical theatre, said she would like to work as a pre-school teacher once she completes her academic studies.

Javon Jones, TSU associate director of Undergraduate Recruitment, said Spring Preview Day should definintely play a role in boosting enrollment for the fall. She said students who missed Spring Preview, can attend a similar day in the fall.

“We would love to see anyone who couldn’t come out today for Spring Preview Day,” she said. “We are about energy, about educating our students, and most of all we want them to have fun and be prepared for their future.  We will make sure they have all of  their admissions documents together, and that they have everything ready to go and if they ever need anything, the office of admissions and records is available to help.”

For more information on admission to Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/.

Editor’s Note: Featured photo by Erynne Davis

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Alum Jazmin Ghent continues to soar with NAACP Image Award for new jazz album

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The name of TSU alum and musician Jazmin Ghent continues to resound.

The jazz phenom recently received an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz Album category for “The Story of Jaz.” In 2017, she was voted Best New Artist by the Smooth Jazz Network.

Jazmin Ghent

Ghent earned a master’s degree in music from Tennessee State University in 2014. She said music has always been a part of her life.

“If I didn’t have music, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “Music distracted me from getting off track and being something I’m not.  It really allowed me to express myself and find my way in life.”

Nicknamed “Jazzy Jaz” by her grandfather Fletcher Gaines, who also played saxophone, Ghent grew up listening to jazz standards from his music collection, as well as the music of Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson.

 Jazmin credits TSU for playing a major role in her success.

She said Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music at TSU, her residence life coworkers Gregory Williams and Brent Dukhie, and various members of the TSU family, provided direction and support during her time at the university.

“I found out about the program at TSU through the Bobby Jones Show,” she said.  “I performed on his ‘Show Your Talent Show,’ and went to do an interview with Dr. Elliot. He didn’t have to give me a chance and an opportunity, but I am beyond thankful that he did.”

Elliot, who served as chair of Ghent’s thesis committee, said that as a musician, Jazmin brings the “total package.”

“She is very much a modern saxophonist, but she is well-grounded in the music of those greats who came before her, and she has built upon that legacy,” he said. 

For more about Jazmin Ghent, visit https://www.jazminghentmusic.com.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Student Government Association Announces New Officers for 2019/2020 Academic Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University‘s Student Government Association has a new group of officers for the 2019/2020 academic year.

The new student leadership, including a Mr. TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced by the Student Election Commission on April 5, during a ceremony in the university’s Amphitheater.

Kayla Sampson, the 89th Miss TSU, right, places the heirloom sash on the 90th Miss TSU, Jada Crisp. (Submitted Photo)

Frank Stevenson, dean of students and associate vice president for Student Affairs, along with other Student Affairs staff, was on hand to congratulate the new officers when the election results were announced.

Katelyn Thompson, of Memphis, a rising senior with a double major in criminal justice and psychology, was elected the new SGA president, while Ryan Smith, a senior agricultural science major from Atlanta, is the new SGA executive vice president.

Memphis native Jada Crisp, a rising senior business supply chain management major, won the coveted crown to become the 90th Miss Tennessee State University. Damyr Moore, as the new Mr. TSU, will escort her. Moore is a senior mass communications major from Atlanta.

SEC Chair, Jessica Fuqua, and SEC Member, Kobe Forman, announce the winners of the 2019/2020 SGA elections. (Submitted Photo)

“These new officers are an amazing group of students,” said Tasha Andrews, director of Student Activities. “The outgoing leadership did a great job and they left a nice foundation for these students to continue to build upon. We are celebrating the 90th Miss TSU, so that’s exciting and a monumental year, so we want to do some amazing things to celebrate that.”

Following is the list of the new Miss TSU court and other members of the SGA: 

Mr. Senior – Daryus Drayton – Psychology

Miss Senior – Kristian Taylor – Marketing

Senior Class Treasurer – Lawrence Evans – Criminal Justice

Junior Class President – Makayla Davis – Mass Communication

Mr. Junior – Naton Smith, Jr. – Health Sciences

Miss Junior – Maya Howard – Business Marketing

Sophomore Class Vice President – Emmanuel Wallace – Agricultural Sciences

Mr. Sophomore – Mark Davis – Mass Communications

Miss Sophomore – Mayora Berry – Mass Communications


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU celebrates former football players with a ‘Salute to Greatness’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The NFL Draft will highlight the future of professional football in a couple of weeks. However, on April 12, Tennessee State University will celebrate former TSU players who competed in the pros, including 21 in Super Bowls.

“Salute to Greatness-Excellence on the Gridiron” will take place at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. A reception is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by a program/dinner at 7 p.m.

The event leading up to the NFL Draft in Nashville on April 25 is part of TSU’s annual Coming Home-Legends Weekend, which will feature the Blue and White Game on April 13.

“Our history of sending students to play on the professional level of football is special,” says TSU Athletics Director Teresa Phillips. “Those who competed on the highest level were and are great representatives of the university and should be recognized. The ‘Salute to Greatness’ event seeks to bring these stars together to celebrate their collective successes.”

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues.

Those players who did and will be at the April 12 event include Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Dent, MVP of Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears; Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys; and two-time Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who played in Super Bowl XLVIII with the Denver Broncos.

“When I first learned of the event, I was very excited,” says Jones. “Tennessee State has always had a rich athletics program, even before I got here. This is not a championship team that will assemble, it is all the players coming back to support this as well. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the guys.”

Grant Winrow is the event’s chairman and special assistant to TSU President Glenda Glover. He says it’s great to “welcome our former players back to the school that gave them their start.” 

“We thank President Glover for allowing us to carry this vision of celebration during our Coming Home weekend,” says Winrow, who is also director of special projects.

Chris Hope, a former Tennessee Titans Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be the event’s keynote speaker. The master of ceremony is Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Hope Hines, considered a Nashville legend in sports coverage.

“For over six decades, players from Tennessee State University have been cornerstones of the National Football League,” says Hines, who covered TSU sports extensively. “In fact, only a very few colleges and universities have sent more players to the NFL than TSU. The ‘Salute to Greatness’ night is the perfect opportunity to celebrate over 60 years of the brotherhood of Big Blue players who have made Tennessee State University synonymous with the NFL.”

Traci Otey Blunt, a TSU alum and senior vice president of corporate communications for the NFL, agrees.

“I think it’s so dynamic what TSU has done for the sports community, business community, and beyond,” says Blunt. “I scream from the mountaintops that I’m a proud Tennessee State University graduate.”

In 2016, TSU was recognized at the John Wooten Leadership Awards in San Francisco for the number of players who competed in Super Bowls. The university’s football legacy dates back to Super Bowl I in 1967, when former TSU Tigers Willie Mitchell and Fletcher Smith made their appearance as teammates with the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 20 players have followed them over the years.

To learn more about TSU football and the university’s other athletic programs, visit http://www.tsutigers.com.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University Promotes Healthy Lifestyle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – At least 40 vendors from across the city participated in the Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University on April 5.

Chiropractic care, dental screenings and HIV testing were just a few of the free services offered at the fair, which was a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.

A participant at the health fair receives dental screening. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Participants also received information on weight-loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings.

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said the event was intended to motivate people to live healthier lives.

“The expectation was to bring the community together to let them understand the importance of health as well as the availability of nontraditional and traditional medicine,” Thomas said. “The partnership with TSU has been really great because they support us in getting the word out to the community, as well as supply the space. They do a lot for us and they put that message out there for a healthy lifestyle.”

TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which provided intra-oral screenings at the event, has been one of the main participants over the years.

Leon Roberts II, coordinator of clinics for the department, stressed the importance of taking care of oral hygiene because “it affects an individuals’ whole health.”

“The mouth is the gateway to the body, so a lot of dental diseases don’t just affect the mouth,” he said. “Periodontal disease is connected to diabetes, heart disease, and for women who are pregnant, it is connected to low-birth weight babies.”

Sharronda Broughton is program specialist for Outreach STD/HIV Communicable Disease with Metro Public Health Department. She has been attending the fair for several years and is impressed with how much the yearly event has grown.

“We participate in the health fair to offer STD and HIV screening and awareness for the students, staff and for the community,” Broughton said. “Each year we see more and more participants. It looks like more people are now aware of what this event offers.”

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of public relations and a member of the DP Thomas board of directors, also spoke about the growth of the fair. She announced the addition of Bounce TV-Nashville, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as new sponsors for the fair.

“It was important for people to come out to see what’s out there in health care with regards to traditional and nontraditional products and methods to keep us healthy, because our health is our wealth,” Hodge said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Alum and Celebrated Actor L. Warren Young Returns to Alma Mater to Inspire Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumnus and celebrated actor L. Warren Young speaks with nostalgia when he recalls piling into a room with other budding thespians during his freshman year at Tennessee State University.

L. Warren Young

“They had everybody in the speech and drama department to meet in one room.  I think it was like 50 or 60 people there, and the instructors were talking to us. Everybody was like ‘Yeah man!  We’re going to do this man!  I’m going to be a movie star!  I’m going to be in this play and get in this movie!’ Everybody had such high hopes,” said Young, who television viewers from around the world can watch currently as the recurring character Fred Williams from the hit TV series Greenleaf. “Out of the 50 to 60 people who were in the room at that moment, I am the only one left.  The odds are against you, but you can beat the odds.”

Young spoke in the Strange Performing Arts Building in Rehearsal Hall on April 8. He expressed excitement about returning to Tennessee State University to share with students some of the insights he has learned from being in the acting industry for almost five decades.

“I’ve been in this business for 47 years.  I’ve raised a family.  I’ve had to do other jobs and things like that, but I’ve always had my eye on the prize.  And as they say, I’m not finished yet,” he said.

Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Matthew McConaughey, Meagan Good and Will Ferrell represent just a few of the many well known actors Young has collaborated with on the set of countless TV shows and films including “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “The Blind Side,” “Saints and Sinners,” “Shots Fired,” “The Game, “Bessie,” “Meet The Browns,” “Nashville,” and “We Are Marshall.”

TSU senior professor of theatre and award-winning director Lawrence James said Young’s visit is a tremendous experience for students, as well as the entire TSU campus community.

L. Warren Young (middle) on the set of TV Series Greenleaf.

“It’s good to have beacons of light and success. This is an opportunity for the students to get up close and personal with someone who is a success,” James said. “We are always wanting to have role modes for our students, and to have someone of LaParee’s caliber and success to come and talk to the students should be extremely rewarding for them.”

Young, who entered TSU with a music scholarship and played trombone with the Aristocrat of Bands, also recalls being a member of the T.E. Poag Players Guild and Theta Alpha Phi National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity. He credits many of his TSU professors with teaching him skills he uses as a professional actor.

“One of the major forces in my career as a student was a mentor, and Oprah Winfrey’s mentor as well, W. Drury Cox.  He was the one,” Young said.  “A very knowledgeable man, a very sound man, a very personable man, and a very caring man. The four years I was at Tennessee State, it was amazing to have him as a mentor.”

L. Warren Yooung as a student at TSU rehearsing for a theatrical production of the play ‘No Place To Be Somebody’ by Charles Gordone.

Jordan Young, a Nashville native and sophomore marketing major at TSU, said his uncle consistently offered him great advice during his time as a child actor.

“Sometimes as an actor I would get discouraged when I didn’t get call backs, and he always told me to keep my head up,” said Jordan Young.

Jordan, son of actor K. Addison Young, said his father and uncle had a lot to do with him attending TSU.

“They both went to TSU.  It was like a tradition in my family that for the first 17 years of my life, we always used to go early in the morning to the parade. I’ve seen the culture around here, and I’ve seen how much they have benefited from it,” he said.

James hopes Young’s visit gives students across the campus a real look at what it takes to be a successful actor.

“Sometimes theatre is looked at as that kind of secondary art form, but now we can look and see all the wonderful movies and TV shows, particularly with young minorities starting out as far as television and film are concerned, with ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Insecure,’ ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Boomerang,’” James said.  “All of these are wonderful movies, and others are starting theatre groups. The point is that theatre and the movie arts and television arts are alive, and I wish more of our students would focus there, and discipline themselves academically and artistically to be successes in those areas.”

Young, who emphasizes the importance of doing theatre for developing skills as an actor, said he performed in every theatrical production except for three, during his time as a TSU student. He said students must learn different acting techniques, as well as the business of acting in order to be truly successful.

“Learn what you can at an institution like Tennessee State University that has the facilities to further your career, because those people that have studied and learned the business of this business are the ones that last and have the staying power,” he said. “There are a lot of people that may get into a series today, and you don’t see them in another year, because a lot of times they were just good for that particular role. They didn’t know how to act; they knew how to just memorize lines.’

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to Host Inaugural HBCU Pride Intramural Sports Tournament Featuring Fisk, Meharry Medical College and American Bible College

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nashville’s four historically black colleges and universities will come together on Wednesday, April 10, in the first-ever HBCU Pride Basketball Tournament.

Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Bible College will participate in the intramural sports event involving non-NCAA student athletes.

Gerald Davis

The tournament will begin at 7:45 p.m., on the TSU Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center Basketball Courts on the main campus.

Organizers say the event, intended to be a future fundraiser, is free and open to the public. It will feature the kings, queens and royal courts of the institutions, as well as vendors and entertainment. Court Yard Wednesday – usually held in the TSU Student Center, where student organizations set up tables and other displays – will move to the tournament site as part of the festivities.

The tournament is the brainchild of Gerald Davis, TSU alum and director of the Wellness Center. He said the idea to organize the tournament and bring the four institutions together has been in the works for a long time.

“HBCU Pride as an idea is something I have been thinking about for about three years now,” says Davis. “It’s always been a goal and a wish of mine to have all four HBCUs right here in the Nashville area to do something together.”

He says representatives from the other institutions have embraced the idea and are excited about this inaugural event, with a plan to make it an annual event to raise funds for the four schools.

“I think something like this will have a positive spin to have all four schools together. So, the basketball game for me is just a backdrop of bringing all four schools together. More importantly, it is just the camaraderie that I have always wanted to see all four schools together,” says Davis.

Tammi Lavender, event co-organizer and director of student life at Meharry Medical College, says Meharry students like the idea of bringing the local HBCUs together and are excited to participate in the tournament.

“We have only intramural sports at Meharry, and so when I sent the email to our students they were very excited about coming down to participate,” says Lavender. “I definitely like the idea for the tournament and the plan to make it even better to support our HBCUs.”


HBCU Pride comes a few days before the start of Alumni Coming Home and Legends Weekend – April 12-14 – featuring a celebration of TSU football players who went to the pros, a 5K run/walk, and the Blue & White Football Game.

“The plan is to grow it and bring alumni back,” says Davis. “I wanted to strategically put this around our (alumni) coming home weekend. So, hopefully we will be able to get on the big schedule next year with other activities.”

Participating institutions will receive trophies for first, second and third places, with the winning team receiving an overall championship trophy that must be returned and competed for each year, “like the Stanley Cup,” says Davis.

For more information on the HBCU Pride Tournament, call Gerald Davis at 615-963-2260.


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Africana Studies Program Partners With Alum to Host US-Africa Business Opportunities and Exchange Conference

The Tennessee State University Africana Studies Program, in partnership with DC Consult International, will host the US-Africa Business Opportunities and Exchange Conference, beginning Wednesday, April 3.

The conference will bring together federal and state government leaders, industry experts, and private business leaders from the Southern region of the United States around the themes of business development and investment opportunities in the areas of green infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, entertainment and entrepreneurship.

“All eyes are on Africa in regard to future opportunities for business investment. The timing of this conference couldn’t be any better, and I encourage everyone to participate,” said TSU assistant professor of business administration Isaac Addae, who will present at the conference. “Strong relationships are a major aspect of achieving business success on the continent, and this conference provides a great opportunity to forge partnerships with individuals currently doing business across Africa.”

Isaac Addae

Diana C. Onyejiaka, founder of DCCI and an alumna of TSU, said attendees can expect panel sessions to include: Civil Rights, Pan Africanism, and Decolonization: Making the Connection; Agribusiness with Africa; Entertainment: Africa’s Next Export; Female Empowerment For Economic Growth and Sustainability; Healthcare Systems and Primary Care; Green Infrastructure for Urban Development in Africa; and  Blockchain Technology for Developing Nations.

“I graduated from TSU with plans to go to law school, come out, and only practice law in the United States,” said Onyejiaka, who obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in political science with minors in philosophy and psychology in 2007 and a master’s in public administration from the university in 2013. “However, when I started learning about the different types of business engagements that many international firms engaged with Africa, I was determined to create something similar. I wanted to participate in those business engagements too.”

Onyejiaka, the main organizer of the conference and a speaker for the “Entertainment: Africa’s Next Export” session, also obtained her Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center in 2014. Addae and Samuel O’Sesin, digital and marketing strategist and owner of Gadgetivo, an online “gadget mall,” will serve as speakers for the “Millennials, Capital and Opportunities” session.

Samuel O’Sesin

The Culture & Creative Industries Council (CCIC) Awards Gala at 7:30 p.m. on April 5, will honor men, women, and organizations that heavily impact Africa and its diaspora. The gala, themed “A Night Dedicated to People of African Descent,” will include a dinner catered from Pole’ Pole’, a local mobile and catering food service that offers gourmet cuisine from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a traditional dance performance from Nigeria, West Africa, and live music from Uzoma Obiora and The Path to Freedom.

Onyejiaka hopes to attract millennials to the conference so they can become more informed about the vital role Africa will play in the future of the global economy.

“I want students to be informed about the shift currently happening. The United Nations projects that by 2050, 1 in 4 people on Earth will be African and that Africa will likely be the only region that will continue to grow after 2050,” she said. “I would say that the average American student today should expect that he or she will likely engage in business with or in Africa at some point of their career. It is inevitable.”

Uzoma Obiora

The TSU Africana Studies Program offers an 18 credit hour Minor designed to complement a student’s major in one of the university’s degree granting programs. The program’s curriculum and pedagogy are designed to prepare students for success in a diverse and increasingly interdependent global economy and job market.

For more information about the US-Africa Business Opportunities and Exchange Conference visit http://www.dcconsultintl.com/usafricaboe-2019

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.