Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in College Scholarships

(L to R) Dillard University’s associate admissions director Christopher Stewart and Zariah Nolan, Whitehaven High School senior and future Dillard University Student, taken from Nolan’s Twitter on April 24, 2017. (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Seniors at an almost-exclusively Black high school in Memphis, Tennessee, earned more than $80 million in university scholarship offers.

ABC News reported Friday (April 21) that more than 40 Whitehaven High School students contributed to this number with at least $1 million in offers each. A call to determine the total number of students who earned scholarships was not immediately returned. Per the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, Whitehaven’s student body is more than 99 percent Black.

One student, 18-year-old Zariah Nolan, earned nearly $9.6 million in scholarships, including 17 full-ride packages. Nolan told ABC News that she applied to nearly 100 colleges across the country using application packages like the Common Black College Application, which allows prospective students to submit to 51 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with one set of materials.

She will attend one of those HBCUs, Dillard University in New Orleans, this fall. “My principal always told us you never know where life can take you so apply anywhere just to see,” Nolan said. Her principal, Vincent J. Hunter, added that the 1,765 student-strong high school stands out thanks to its all-alumni staff. “It’s important for us to be our brother’s keeper and we work hard to make sure our kids are prepared for life after graduation,” says Hunter, who also attended Whitehaven.

Source: Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in Scholarships | Colorlines

14-Year-Old Cello Prodigy Ifetayo Ali-Landing Wins Coveted National Music Competition

14 year-old cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing (photo via blavity.com)

article via blavity.com

While most teens are consumed with navigating puberty, Ifetayo Ali-Landing is busy being a cello master. A student at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute in Chicago, IL, Ali-Landing recently took home the coveted 1st place prize in the 2017 Annual Sphinx Competition.

Along with a $10,000 cash prize, the young prodigy will also have an opportunity to feature as a soloist with major orchestras and perform with the all black and Latino Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. This, along with a nationally-broadcast radio appearance on the prestigious NPR and PBS broadcasted talent showcase From the Top, the 14-year-old competitive musician is making her mark as a premier cellist.

Ali-Landing began playing the violin as a toddler before deciding to switch to cello at the age of 3. Since then, she has received numerous awards and performed in several showcases including the 2013 Friends of the IPO (Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra) Rising Stars Showcase where, at age 10, she recorded the 1st movement of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor.

The performance of which went viral with over 53,000 YouTube views and 8 million Facebook views.

Source: This 14-Year-Old Prodigy Cellist Won A Coveted National Music Competition | BLAVITY

Beyoncé Wins Prestigious Peabody Award for ‘Lemonade’ Visual Album

Beyoncé in “Lemonade” (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Beyoncé‘s “Lemonade” has just earned her a Peabody Award. This year, Beyoncé was one of seven honorees in the Entertainment category to be named to the  Peabody Awards’ inaugural Peabody 30 for her visual album Lemonade.

“Lemonade” draws from the prolific literary, musical, cinematic, and aesthetic sensibilities of black cultural producers to create a rich tapestry of poetic innovation,” organizers said in a statement. “The audacity of its reach and fierceness of its vision challenges our cultural imagination, while crafting a stunning and sublime masterpiece about the lives of women of color and the bonds of friendship seldom seen or heard in American popular culture.”

The Peabody Awards ceremony will air on June 2 on PBS and Fusion.

Source: Beyoncé wins prestigious Peabody Award for ‘Lemonade’ | theGrio

Pulitzer Prize Winners: Colson Whitehead, Lynn Nottage, Hilton Als and Tyehiimba Jess Earn Awards for 2017

2017 Pulitzer Prize winners Hilton Als, Colson Whitehead, Lynn Nottage and Tyehimba Jess (photo via mic.com)

article by Sarah A. Harvard via mic.com

The Pulitzer Prize committee announced its 2017 winners at its 101st annual ceremony on Monday. Among the 21 winners of the prestigious literary award, four black writers were commended for their work. BuzzFeed News’ executive editor Saeed Jones tweeted that Tyehimba Jess, Hilton Als, Lynn Nottage and Colson Whitehead were among the new class of winners.

Jess won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Olio, a collection of his sonnets, songs and narratives that highlight the lives of “unrecorded African-American performers” before the Civil War up to World War I.

Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for her Broadway show Sweat. The play, a political drama, centers on a group of friends who spent most of their lives working with each other in a factory and follows their friendship’s tumultuous friendship as rumors of layoffs begin to stir. According to Playbill, Nottage is the first female playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize twice. Nottage tweeted out thank yous for her award.

Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 2016 novel The Underground Railroad. The novel tells the story of a teenage heroine, Cora, in 1850s Georgia who tries to escape a cotton plantation and start her journey toward freedom.

Als, a theater critic for the New Yorker, won a Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

Source: 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winners: 4 black writers take home the coveted award

New Yorker Writer Hilton Als Wins the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

Hilton Als, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994, has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. (PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIGITTE LACOMBE)

article via newyorker.com

Hilton Als, the theatre critic for The New Yorker, has won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Als became a staff writer for The New Yorker in 1994 and a theatre critic in 2002. Week after week, he brings to the magazine a rigorous, sharp, and lyrical perspective on acting, playwriting, and directing.

With his deep knowledge of the history of performance—not only in theatre but in dance, music, and visual art—he not only shows us how to view a production but how to place its director, its author, and its performers in the ongoing continuum of dramatic art. His reviews are not simply reviews; they are provocative contributions to the discourse on theatre, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America.

To see the ten pieces by Als, from 2016, that were part of the prize-winning submission to the Pulitzer committee, go to: Hilton Als Wins the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism – The New Yorker

15 Year-Old Chet Ellis wins Contest on White Privilege in Connecticut Town

Chet Ellis with parents Trey Ellis and Amanda Freeman (photo via nydailynews.com)

article by Christopher Brennan via nydailynews.com

The 15-year-old winner of an essay contest about white privilege says older residents of the well-to-do Connecticut town who caused a national debate about the competition could learn a thing or two from the youth.

Chet Ellis, a sophomore at Staples High School, won the competition’s $1,000 first prize for writing about the “unavoidable” racial incidents growing up in Westport, which is 93% white. “I can come at the issue from a young black teen perspective rather than all the old white men of Westport,” he told the Daily News Tuesday, a day after receiving his award.

Read Ellis’ essay here.

The contest put on by the town’s diversity council TEAM Westport gained widespread attention after some residents reacted strongly against it, saying it was an indictment of an affluent community that considers itself welcoming.“There are no barricades here. Nobody says if you’re black or whatever, you can’t move here,” Bari Reiner, 72, said in January.

Other parents said the board overstepped its bounds by bringing up white privilege, the unseen advantages given automatically to white people in a society where positions of power are dominated by people who look like them.

Chet, who moved to Westport from Morningside Heights, Manhattan, six years ago, said in his essay that he had not thought about white privilege until he moved to the wealthy suburb.

He recounted incidents where a white student said the N-word when talking about diversity in an almost all-white classroom, and another classmate saying he would have an easier time getting into college because he is black.

“I was stunned,” Chet wrote, “and mumbled something instead of firing back, ‘Your parents are third-generation Princeton and your father runs a hedge fund and yet you think my ride is free?”’

The teen, who wants to go into law or social work to help others, told the News that the episodes in his essay were just two examples of all the racially tinged interactions he has had in Westport, such as when a middle school teacher called him Jamal despite no student at the school having that name.

He urged more inclusive discussions and sensitivity about privilege, words echoed by his mother Amanda Freeman, a white college sociology professor at University of Hartford.

To read more, click here: Black 15-year-old wins contest on white privilege in Conn. town – NY Daily News

Gregory Robinson Named Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson (photo via jsu.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Gregory H. Robinson, the University of Georgia Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia, has been named a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Founded more than 175 years ago, the Royal Society of Chemistry is the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.

The Royal Society of Chemistry partners with industry and academia, promotes collaboration and innovation, advises governments on policy and promotes the talent, information and ideas that lead to great advances in science.

Professor Robinson’s research focuses on the synthesis, structure, and stabilization of compounds containing multiple bonds between heavier main group elements. “To be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry is a tremendous honor, and to now be associated with some of the world’s most notable chemists is equally humbling,” Professor Robinson said. “This international honor is a testament to the gifted students and creative colleagues that have been a part of our research team over the years.”

Professor Robinson is a graduate of Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

Source: Gregory Robinson Named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education