Actor Michael B. Jordan (right) will also direct the third installment of the “Creed” franchise, “Creed III” (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures).
Students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and want to start their own businesses, get at actor/filmmaker Michael B. Jordan and/or tennis GOAT, Serena Williams ASAP because they have partnered to give away $1 million in scholarships
Via an endowment from MaC Venture Capital, Jordan’s Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic firm and Williams’ Serena Ventures, applicants must submit an inventive proposal for consideration.
“HBCUs are an integral part of our educational ecosystem and have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence,” said Serena Ventures General Partner Alison Stillman in a statement. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael B. Jordan and MaC Ventures on highlighting the brilliant student and alumni founders.”
The Grio reported, “According to a press release, Jordan and Williams will award the winners of their unique competition on Dec. 18, in New Jersey, during the QQQ Legacy Classic Basketball Showcase Finals.
“Students from North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, Hampton University and Howard University are expected to attend the event, which will also air on TNT.”
MaC Venture Capital General Partner Michael Palanik said, “Talent is ubiquitous, but access to opportunity is not. Two of our partners are HBCU alumni, and we could not be more excited to uncover and support the amazing entrepreneurial talent we know is thriving at these universities.”
Once students earn the scholarships, the winners will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from six companies: Invesco, Serena Ventures, MaC Ventures, Thirty Five Ventures, Cake Ventures and Harlem Capital.
Legendary basketball player Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Rich Kleiman head Thirty Five Ventures.
According to Thirty Five Ventures’ website, “Thirty Five Ventures’ investment portfolio spans more than 75+ companies across a variety of verticals and growth markets, including fintech, cryptocurrency, health and wellness, media & more. With deep relationships in venture capital and private equity, the 35V team works strategically with a subset of partners on strategy, content and marketing initiatives.”
In an interview with Variety, Jordan let the cat out of the bag when it comes to the HBCU basketball tournament.
Jordan told Variety, “I am thrilled to finally announce the four HBCUs that will be competing in the inaugural Legacy Classic. Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life. I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”
BlackPRWire.com reported, “Leading up to the basketball showcase, Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic will partner with the Esport nonprofit, Cxmmunity, to host an NBA2K tournament. The event, scheduled for Dec. 13, will also feature a band showcase and a live musical performance, as well as college and career opportunities.
“Tickets for the basketball portion of the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic start at $25. Proceeds from the event support organizations which aim to advance HBCUs, as well as the local Newark community in New Jersey.”
Jordan, the critically acclaimed actor and director, recently participated in an advertisement to support the 75th anniversary of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In the advertisement, Jordan drives some children to an imaginary playground called “NBA Lane.”
The fictional “NBA Lane” consists of current NBA stars as well as iconic NBA legends from the past.
NBA chief marketing officer Kate Jhaveri said Jordan “has an authentic love for the game of basketball.”
Jhaveri told Adweek, “Moreover, his participation in ‘NBA Lane’ stems from a shared commitment in spotlighting HBCUs. He’s working on his upcoming Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic on Saturday, Dec. 18, on TNT that will feature an HBCU doubleheader, while highlighting HBCU life and culture. We’re fortunate to work with our ‘NBA Lane bus driver’ who not only has a strong connection with our fanbase, but equally shares the values of our league and fans.”
While many celebrities and athletes have supported HBCUs for decades and generations, a recent movement has grown out of the Black Lives Matter movement that has encouraged many wealthy Black Americans, and many outside of the Black community, to give time and money to HBCUs.
Furthermore, racial turmoil that has bubbled to the surface after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led to an uptick in enrollment at HBCUs across the country.
Many Black high school students have begun to take a serious look at HBCUs to avoid racism and discrimination that they might experience at predominantly White institutions (PWI).
Forbes reported, “…Inside Higher Ed reported that while the media has covered the rise in applications at elite schools like Harvard and Yale, HBCUs have also been flooded with the student interest. Among the schools attracting applicants: Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Spelman College and Howard University.”
Morgan State President David Kwabena Wilson said, “This is a historic high for Morgan.”
The Baltimore HBCU made headlines when philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $40 million to the school, which has an enrollment of 6,500 undergraduate students.
Wilson said of the donation, “I was quite emotional. I couldn’t believe that someone had finally done their homework and had concluded that Morgan State was one of the best investment opportunities in higher ed in this country.”
By April 2021, Morgan State had received 14,600 undergraduate applications, a 60 percent increase from 2020.
Wilson said, “The proverbial cat is out of the bag. Students are recognizing that Morgan has high-quality programs…and they can study at an institution that was really built on the notion of Black excellence.”
Now, Black excellence from all walks of life is putting their money, time and talent behind the excellent students at predominantly Black colleges and paying it forward to the next generation.