Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey

TSU and Mt. Zion cut hunger for 10,000 Nashville families hit hardest by COVID-19 with grant from Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Over 10,000 Nashville families can put more food on their tables today because of a generous grant donation from the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. The funds were made available through a partnership between Tennessee State University and Mt. Zion Baptist Church that grew out of Ms. Winfrey’s strong desire to help Nashville. 

Ms. Winfrey, a Big Blue alum, said TSU President Glenda Glover and Bishop Joseph Warren Walker III of Mt. Zion were recommended to her because of their great work in the community. Particularly in the case of President Glover, Ms. Winfrey said representatives with Apple suggested she connect with Glover and TSU, which has a successful coding partnership with Apple.

The tech giant is also in partnership with Ms. Winfrey, who recently spoke with local and national print outlets during a Zoom meeting to announce the $2 million grant to TSU and Mt. Zion to help the families in need.

“Everybody was already connected. I felt like I was in good hands,” said Ms. Winfrey, adding that she brainstormed with Glover and Walker on how to get help “directly to the people.”

“I was honored to receive Ms. Winfrey’s call, and even more touched by her concern for underserved communities in her home city of Nashville deeply impacted by COVID-19,” said Glover, who was a classmate of Ms. Winfrey. “A vast majority of the families benefitting are single heads of households experiencing job loss or a substantial cut in hours. The university, along with Mt. Zion, is extremely proud to have assisted with such a monumental humanitarian effort with our alumna, Ms. Winfrey.” 

“We are deeply grateful to Ms. Winfrey, who has such a heart for Nashville and asked us to help her develop a method for getting relief to the most vulnerable people as fast as possible,” said Walker. “In response, we convened an extensive network of religious, civic and business leaders who have direct knowledge of individuals and families in this city whose lives have been devastated by the confluence of disasters that have hit Nashville in 2020.” 

NashvilleNurtures, the collaboration between TSU and Mt. Zion, brought together a coalition of African-American churches and community organizations to assist in helping the city’s most at need individuals. In addition to the coronavirus, a tornado that struck parts of Nashville near TSU in early March left many families homeless. 

One beneficiary is LaWanda Jackson. She said the gift card was “truly a blessing” because her work hours had been reduced and she was still displaced by the tornado. “I honestly did not know what my next meal was going to be,” said Jackson. “The card was right on time. I’m thankful to everyone who played a part in me getting it.” 

Single mom Janice Easley was overjoyed to receive the $200 Kroger gift card. The mom of six and housekeeper said her hours had been cut as well, and she worried about having enough food available with her children out of school. 

“I was down to my last food and didn’t have anything,” said Easley. “I thank Ms. Oprah Winfrey. She didn’t have to do it but you came through. It’s a blessing.” 

Glover said, “The gratitude and appreciation expressed to Ms. Winfrey, TSU and Mt. Zion has been overwhelming. Along with single parents, we’ve been able to help people who are crucial to the city’s tourism industry; the men and women that wait tables, hotel check-in, and small business owners suffering financial loss. As a college president, I see first-hand how this virus has affected every aspect of daily living, financial, operational and of course educational.” 

Ms. Winfrey said she was compelled to help because of how African-American communities are being disproportionally affected by the virus. She voiced her concern about the lack of access to healthcare, leading to a larger number of deaths and the economic toll on communities of color.

“The reason I’m talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up, and you got those people right here in Nashville,” said Ms. Winfrey. “I mean, this thing is not going away. Even when the virus is gone.”

Agreeing with Winfrey, Glover said it was important that TSU continue to help families as they face uncertain futures due to the devastating impact of the virus and that’s being done with the newly created COVID-19 Academy at the university.

“TSU has established the COVID-19 Academy to continue outreach to the Nashville community as it recovers from the pandemic,” said Glover. “The academy will work to bridge the health care disparity for people of color that experts say will have a lasting impact for generations to come through a holistic approach combining access to care, human services and education.” 

The grant to NashvilleNurtures was a part of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation’s $12 million COVID-19 Relief Fund. The grants support organizations in Ms. Winfrey’s “home cities” of Nashville, TN; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Baltimore; and Kosciusko, MS that are helping underserved communities currently experiencing a disproportionate impact from the pandemic.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. 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 alumna Oprah Winfrey draws questions about possible run for president after moving Golden Globes speech

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU alumna and media mogul Oprah Winfrey was the talk of the 2018 Golden Globes after her acceptance speech Sunday for the coveted Cecil B. DeMille Award.

TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey. (photo from shutterstock.com)

While receiving the lifetime achievement designation was groundbreaking for Winfrey as the first African American female, it was her remarks that had a lasting impact.

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover had these comments on Winfrey’s trailblazing achievement.

“On the behalf of the Tennessee State University family, we congratulate Ms. Winfrey, a fellow alumna of our university, on receiving this prestigious award from the film and television industry,” said TSU President Glover.

“Ms. Winfrey is the epitome of grace, brilliance and strength, and delivered passionate remarks for a monumental occasion. She continues to inspire people of all ages by speaking to the very conscious of our nation. There is no question that her words resonated with Americans and those around the world.”

The star-filled audience seemed to hang on Winfrey’s every word as she addressed racism, sexism and the need for solidarity that should transcend Hollywood into mainstream America. Many in attendance and viewers alike immediately took to social media saying that she should make a run for the presidency in 2020.

All believed that Winfrey’s hopeful message – “A new day is on the horizon” – was her campaign-rallying cry.

Winfrey has not commented on the presidential speculation after her speech, but when her best friend Gayle King brought up the idea recently on “CBS This Morning,” Winfrey shot it down: “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”

Winfrey received a degree in Mass Communication from TSU and has provided scholarships for students at her alma mater.

Currently, Winfrey serves as the CEO of the cable channel OWN, a network she created, a “special correspondent” for the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” and an investor in companies like Weight Watchers.

Winfrey will appear in Ava DuVernay’s movie “A Wrinkle in Time” scheduled to be released in March.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.