Meet Stephanie Walters

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

Dexter D. Cohen, IEI

Courtesy of Stephanie Walters

Stephanie Walters was only 7 years old when she knew she wanted to have a robust career in journalism. Now the ’08 Hampton grad has an impressive resume that includes owning her own media company with her husband, being the lifestyle correspondent for WAVYTV-10 and even working as the program manager for Pharrell Williams’ nonprofit, From One Hand to Another.

Read how the Hampton almuna and media powerhouse reached her successes and what she’s up to now.

HS: Tell me a little about your upbringing, and what made you come to Hampton?

SW: I grew up around the Richmond area in Chester, Virginia. Both of my parents are graduates of HBCU’s, and my grandparents are graduates of HBCU’s, too. My mom, my dad and my grandma all went to Virginia State University. My granddad went to North Carolina Central University. So I always was around HBCU culture, and I definitely knew I wanted to go to a HBCU. It was never an option for me. I think I had only applied to HBCU’s.

My freshman year, I actually started off at North Carolina Central University and then ended up transferring to Hampton my sophomore year. Hampton had a better journalism program, and I wanted to be a part of Scripps. From then on, I was totally in love with Hampton and the culture.

HS: So, you talked about how journalism was a big reason why you transferred to Hampton. When in your college career did you decide that you wanted to go into that field after college?

SW: I always knew. Since I was like 7 or 8 years old, I always knew that I wanted to be in journalism. I grew up watching TV, and every night we would watch Entertainment Tonight and shows like that. I wanted to have my own TV show or become a media personality because I love to tell people’s stories. I was also an only child growing up, so I never had anyone to talk to except for friends. I was always a talker and loved to get to know people and their background.

So for me it was never a question of what I was going to do, but more like how was I going to get there to do it. When I was in college, I actually got to do an internship at Entertainment Tonight in New York City. It was one of the most amazing things I got to do while I was in college because I had used to watch the show, and I got to intern there!

I love producing and getting to see what happens behind the scenes. So, whether it was in front or behind the camera, I knew I wanted to do something in media.

Dexter D. Cohen, IEI

Courtesy of Stephanie Walters

HS: What were you involved in while you were here at Hampton as a student?

SW: I was a part of WHOV 88.1 FM and had my own talk show. I was really passionate about entertainment news, so I created a talk show around it. It was called Media Mixer, and it was the first entertainment news talk show that WHOV had ever had. I later became the talk show director, so I was in charge of all the talk shows, and I was able to win talk show director of the year. I was also a part of the CORE, which was a special program in Scripps where we did the news. Anything Scripps related, I was involved in.

HS: Thinking back to when you were here, what was your favorite Hampton tradition?

SW: I liked the Ogden crossing because it just signified that “I made it.” It was one of the most awesome experiences ever. I remember that night at midnight, me and all my friends went into the circle and just jumped around and acted like a complete fool! It was so special to us because we had worked so hard to make it to that point.

HS: Did you have a mentor while you were here as a student? Someone you looked up to, whether it was a student or professor?

SW: Yes! I had Professor Leonard, and he was so instrumental in my career. He actually helped me secure my first two jobs in media after I graduated. I actually still keep in touch with him to this day. Whenever he had any projects at Hampton, he would always call me and say, “Hey, do you want to be a part of this?” or “Hey, do you want to help produce this or be a journalist for this?” He was always making sure that I was taken care of and prepared for the real world.

HS: What’s one piece of advice that you were given while you were in college that stuck with you?

SW: People who came before me let me know to “learn how to do everything.” In this field, some people are like “Oh, I just want to be on camera” or “Oh, I just want to write,” but I was taught to just be open and learn to do everything. And if you don’t know how to do something, say “yes” and figure it out. Don’t turn down an opportunity because you don’t know how to do something or because you think it might not be for you. You never know where your road might lead you, so say “yes” and figure everything else out on the way!

HS: I know you’re involved with Pharrell’s foundation. Can you speak a little about that?

SW: So I’m the program manager for Pharrell’s nonprofit called From One Hand to Another. We run summer camps around the country. So we run several summer camps here (in Hampton Roads), and we expanded a couple of years ago to different locations across the country. My role revolves around developing the curriculum for the kids, train the teachers and make sure the camps have everything they need in terms of supplies.

Right now we are in festival mode with Something in the Water around the corner. It’s really awesome that we get to be a part of the festival in terms of getting stuff together and working on some of the conversations that are going on.

HS: So how did you get involved with that?

SW: Having really good connections. For seven years, I worked as a STEM and entrepreneurial program specialist. So, I ran different programs throughout high schools, and I did all the media for the technology department. About two years ago, the COO of the corporation became one of my friends and told me, “Hey, we have an opportunity for a full-time position. Would you be willing to come on board?” And I said “Oh my god, of course! I love what you guys stand for.” So, that’s kind of how that happened.

Before that, my husband, who is also a Hampton grad, and I had owned a media company. We had been contracted through them and used their curriculum. So we were already in the mix when they asked me to work with them. So everything was about just building genuine connections with people and making sure that you keep in touch with them. I’ve gotten a lot of my jobs by building relationships and not burning bridges.


Courtesy of Stephanie Walters


Some Confederate monuments still stand

Kierra Calhoun | Staff Writer

With the recent resurgence of publicized racial tensions in the United States, there has been much discussion over whether all Confederate monuments should be removed from southern communities.

Richmond couple George Braxton and Kelly Harris-Braxton were recently interviewed by Channel 13 News on their personal views about the confederate statues on Monument Avenue and why they believe the statues should be removed. The Braxtons both asserted that Confederate monuments are directly associated with all of the brutalities African Americans have endured in order to benefit the Confederate economy.

The couple also views this monument, and others similar to it, as “gathering places for separatists, white supremacists and Nazis.”

The Braxtons and many other individuals think all Confederate statues and monuments in the South should be removed.

Several Hampton University students, when asked about their personal views and feelings toward confederate monuments, had disparate responses – especially when comparing the ones between students from the South and students from other regions of the country.

When asked what feelings they held toward Confederate monuments, many students, especially those from non-southern regions, expressed indifference.

“I do not have [strong] feelings towards the monuments themselves, as I did not grow up in the South,” sophomore Andre Ray said. “[If I had to choose,] I would say to take [the statues] down only because I think that keeping them up signifies that we as a country are not unified. The Confederacy formed its own country, and we are all one country now.”

Responses similar to Ray’s suggest that perhaps the negative stigmas associated with Confederate monuments are a regional thing. Many students also expressed that they associate the monuments with the Civil War more so than they do with slavery.

Ultimately, nearly every student who was interviewed maintained the monuments should be taken down.

“They should be taken down, because what is there to celebrate?” said Raina Williams, a junior political science major from Philadelphia.

Many believe that the removal of monuments of Confederate war heroes could be the first step in putting an end to racial terrorism in the country.

HU students get a taste of the tech industry

Leondra Head | Local & World Editor


Hamptonians are gaining insightful knowledge from leaders in the technology sector on endless career opportunities the technology industry has to offer. Nine Hampton students were selected to participate in Spotify’s HBCU Opening Act Conference from a pool of over 1,000 applicants who applied.

Spotify offered the conference to students who attend HBCU’s and are interested in pursuing careers in the music-tech and media industries. Students sat with executives and leaders within music, tech and media industries and were provided with insight on how to achieve career goals in these industries.

Nia Wellman, a junior strategic communications major, learned more about the technology industry and is applying her knowledge to her internship applications at various technology companies.

“I gained a wealth of knowledge from the Spotify conference. Before applying, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought the tech industry was only for engineers and coding ‘geeks,’” said Wellman. “However, to my surprise, I learned that there is a place for marketing, public relations, creative and much more. Simply taking this leap of faith and applying [for] this opportunity allowed me to broaden my knowledge of the tech industry.”

Wellman was glad to be exposed to more than what she usually witnesses in Hampton’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

“I gained more insight of the world outside of the traditional media that I’m used to in Scripps. I’ve already begun applying to opportunities in the tech industry like Google, Spotify and Venmo.”

Throughout the conference, students visited other tech and media companies like Snapchat, NBC Universal and Venmo.

Freshman Kibraya Kafele learned how to brand herself and networked with NBC Universal recruiters, where she plans to intern this summer.

“Coming into the conference, I was very nervous. I didn’t know how to make connections or what I even wanted to do with my degree after graduation. However, after the conference, I came back to Hampton with a different mindset from which I left with,” said Kafele. “I had the opportunity to visit NBC Universal and was so amazed that I decided to send out an inquiry to become an intern this summer. This conference expanded my HBCU family and allowed me to gain a lot of confidence.”

Malcolm Lott, a sophomore strategic communications major, credited the conference to being the best four days of his life and said the experience allowed him to return to campus smarter and wiser.

“I learned that my journey in life has literally just started and that my ambition will keep me hungry throughout the journey. Spotify opened my eyes to a world that I never paid much attention to,” said Lott. “I gained a new outlook on my life. This experience humbled me to continue my passion and strive for greatness.”

Many of the Hampton students plan on applying to internships for full-time roles with Spotify. Graduating senior Arielle Wallace gained a strong HBCU network.

“This conference allowed me to get my foot in the door with some of the biggest tech companies in the world while connecting me to an incredible network of HBCU students from across the country,” said Wallace. “I learned that the HBCU world extends across all fields and reaches to the executive level. I plan on applying to non-technical roles at Spotify.”

James Weaver IV, a senior strategic communications major, plans to apply for tech internships and has since gained connections from the conference.

“My experience with Spotify was amazing. I made connections with several black students and professionals and ultimately gained a firmer understanding of how I can uniquely benefit any company,” said Weaver. “I also plan to apply for internships with NBC Universal and Venmo.”

HU Seniors take their next steps before graduation

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Nyaa Ferary | Features Editor

There are a number of seniors that have solidified their next step upon graduating in May, even one who finished early and was able to jumpstart his career. Whether it is graduate school, law school or a job position these four seniors are ready to take on the real world. Janee Huff-Truesdale is a senior elementary education major from Philadelphia. She will be a teacher in the Philadelphia school district as well as a law student at Temple University.

Courtney Hayslett is a computer information system major from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She will begin her graduate studies in information assurance as a full ride CyberCorps Scholar at Hampton University this fall. Another graduating senior is Kadidja Dosso, a business administration major from Philadelphia. Upon graduating, Kadidja will be starting as a full-time management consultant analyst in New York City at Accenture.

Lastly, Kagame Li-A-Ping, a December finance graduate from Brooklyn, N.Y., is currently working at Morgan Stanley as an operations analyst.

Q: How did you start your job/ grad search process?

Janee: I actually didn’t start it came to me. Mrs. Peebles in the Department of Education sends out emails about different teaching jobs across America. One day the subject line said “The School District of Philadelphia” I thought let me check that out since I plan on going back home for grad school. I read the email, contacted the recruiter and he was so happy to hear from students from an HBCU he sent me the application and we went from there. I am currently waiting for my placement on which school I will be at in Philadelphia, the only information that was given to me was that I would probably be in a title one institution. Attending Temple for Grad school was always in my plan especially because it was back at home.

Kadidja: I began my job search by first compiling a list of companies that I would be interested in and organizing them based upon the specific industry that they fall in. Next, I looked up the available opening positions that those companies had along with their starting salary, relocation compensation, healthcare benefits, and signing bonuses on as well as a few other resources.

Kagame: I would constantly visit the career center and look at the positions I saw posted on Pirate Link and I literally applied to everything. I also applied to 5 different Morgan Stanley positions before finally accepting an offer at their Baltimore location. I recently started my graduate school search process by looking at different part time opportunities around Baltimore and I hope to start grad school this fall.

Q: What do you wish someone told you about applying?

Janee: I wish that someone told me about more internships, I feel like my resume was a little weak when I was applying and that may have been a set back for why I wasn’t placed yet. I wish I would’ve know how important internships were my freshman year because I would’ve started on them sooner. Courtney: To take the GRE in the fall in order to get it out of the way.

Kadidja: I wish someone had told me to expect denials from various companies but to never accept the denials from the companies that I strive to work with the most.

Kagame: Just how early I’m supposed to apply. Sometimes I missed great opportunities because I was too late, when I simply thought that I was early. I wish I were told the importance of tailoring your resume for different positions; I thought I could just use the same one and apply to anything.

Q: Are you ready to move on to this next step?

Janee: Yes I am anticipating on the move, I am extremely ready to decorate my classroom and meeting new people and to give my students the extra love and quality education. As far as law school, I am extremely excited for a new institutional environment, no more Hampton runarounds and I get to experience a little bit of diversity by not attending another HBCU. So going to a PWI is a big step for me because my whole education career was taught in black institutions.

Kadidja: I’m most definitely ready to move on! My time at Hampton has run its course and it is time for me to learn more about the world that we live in not just our Home by the Sea. I’m ready to step into the real world and be a sponge so that I can give back to those that will come after me and provide as much wisdom, love and support that I can.

Kagame: It was a bit tough leaving campus so soon, but I’m ready to get my life going and start reaching the many goals I still have.

Q: What are you most excited about? Janee: I am most excited about my first year of teaching and giving my students a quality education, and connecting with them. I am also excited for law school. I don’t really see too many black Muslim lawyers so I’m ready to add to the diversity.

Courtney: I am very ready to move on to the next level of academia, I am most excited about exploring my passion of cyber security and learning hands on applications in this cutting edge field.

Kadidja: I’m excited about being able to travel often with my job! I love to travel and see different parts of the country and learn more about the history of places.

Kagame: Being able to now have more financial freedom to do what it is that I want and to provide for my family while also living up to the great legacy that my last name holds. And, the ability to get together with my fellow onyx 10 grads in the future and build with them as well.

Q: What’s your favorite memory from your time at Hampton?

Courtney: I had many great memories starting with my pre-college days, to my summer internship opportunities where I connected with Hampton alumni; and especially becoming a member of the Gamma Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Kadidja: My favorite memory from my time at Hampton would have to be meeting my three best friends freshman year. My roommate Laura and I were walking to the cafe and we saw two girls that were walking from Twitchell that were lost so we told them that they could walk with us because we were headed there as well. We invited them to sit with us and we all had a wonderful conversation and decided to exchange numbers. From that point on and even until this day we are still cafe buddies and built a bond so strong that we’ve all had the same roommates for all four years. On that day, we may not have realized it but we established a bond that could never be broken.

Kagame: The first Caribbean Holland I was able to throw. A lot of people thought it was never going to happen, and when it did, it was huge. I was filled with so much gratitude and so appreciative of everyone’s continued support. We have since had it 3 times. I could never forget BOTS too; they will be my family forever.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Janee: In five years I see myself still being a teacher, as well as finished with school and working on my master’s degree in education. I also plan on attending cosmetology school and getting my license to have a practice on the side.

Courtney: I see myself as an upper management position working in the intelligence community.

Kadidja: A manager at Accenture in New York in addition to setting the foundation for my organic beauty empire. Also, I will be preparing my younger sister to become a Hamptonian.

Kagame: Both of my private organizations will have since been kicked off and generating a year over year return while positively impacting thousands of lives in the process. By that time I would have learned what I needed to from corporate America and will use that knowledge to help my personal companies thrive.

Oscar Images and ‘The Evolution’ Theory

('The Evolution' is a photography project started by Hampton University Grad student Leonard Allen-Smith, creator of 'Oscar Images.'  //Image by Justice Harrison)
(‘The Evolution’ is a photography project started by Hampton University Grad student Leonard Allen-Smith, creator of ‘Oscar Images.’ //Image by Justice Harrison)

Victoria Daniels | Staff Writer

Oscar Images, a photography business created by a Hamptonian, is creating quite a buzz on Hampton’s campus with a project that is reinventing the way we view Black History Month.

Leonard Allen-Smith, a current grad student at Hampton University from Hartsdale, New York, is the founder of Oscar Images. Allen-Smith created the business during his undergraduate years and recently named it “Oscar Images” to exemplify the highest form professionalism and pay homage to his grandfather named Oscar who also enjoyed photography.

‘”The Evolution,” the name of this trailblazing project, was conjured while Allen-Smith was working out in the gym. In a sit-down interview, he shared that he wanted to begin a new project and Black History Month came to him being that it was two days before February.

“Black History Month is history, it’s just that… but we never talk about people who are currently making advancements and progressions in the community,” said Allen-Smith.

(HU student Aria Hill was selected to participate in Oscar Images' "The Evolution" project. She was described as "The Servant," after she founded a non-profit organization called 'Service Spree' that provides services for those in need in the Hampton Roads area. //Photo by Oscar Images)
(HU student Aria Hill was selected to participate in Oscar Images’ “The Evolution” project. She was described as “The Servant,” after she founded a non-profit organization called ‘Service Spree’ that provides services for those in need in the Hampton Roads area. //Photo by Oscar Images)

He seeks to highlight and display the current accomplishments of those people through pictures that would be taken and uploaded to Instagram along with a detailed caption speaking on what makes that person apart of #blackfuturemonth. For each day in February, a new picture will be uploaded to the page.

He began to reach out to his close friends, line brothers, and people that he knew were making moves with their own businesses and brands.

Many were touched by the vision and being given the opportunity to participate, such as Kris Anderson, a junior Sports Management major from Atlanta, Georgia. “Leonard’s vision for the Evolution project is to portray that we must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history,” Anderson said.

This is not a project that Allen-Smith is doing alone. He made sure to give his appreciation to Christina Williams and Miah Harris for all of their hard work and dedication in discovering people to display. He also received help from Randolph Scott, Jr., another Hampton University grad student. “Once we began to upload a few pictures, people immediately reached out asking to be displayed within the project,” Allen-Smith stated.

The team of four began to ask around campus about other people who should be showcased and the project continued to grow.

(Cameron Abney was selected to participate in Oscar Images’ “The Evolution,” project and was described as ‘The Favored.’ He currently serves as Hampton University’s Mister Pirate.// Photo by Oscar Images)

If you scroll down the Instagram page of Oscar Images, you will see pictures of current students and recent graduates with the left side of their face covered by a shadow. He detailed that he uses a single flash to cast the shadow on the left side of their face to represent his views on black history.

“The Evolution is about progression. When we look at the history of the African- American people, the history has always been darker and every day we move forward, it always gets lighter,” Allen-Smith said. Performing little post production, he maintains the authenticity of the picture and showcases his knowledge on how a camera actually operates.

With a few more days left in Feburary, Allen-Smith and his team work diligently to continue finding great people who are doing great things and have their achievements and future endeavours showcased.

Be sure to follow @oscarimages on Instagram to view The Evolution, stay abreast of future projects, and enjoy the photographic history being created and illustrated.

How Somniis plans to diversify the fashion industry

Hampton University senior Stanton Ridley has been designing clothes since he was in high school. Now, during his senior year at Hampton, his clothing brand Somniis has become promising. (Phillip Jackson//The Hampton Script)

Phillip Jackson | Web Editor

It was during his freshman year when Stanton Ridley (also known as Stanton Jordan) started strategically establishing the quality of his clothing brand Somniis.

Now, at at the age of 22, and working as the creative eye and leader of the luxury Menswear and Womenswear clothing brand, his interest in various types of fabrics have allowed him to become a young, but innovative designer during his senior year at Hampton University.

The four scratches in the Somniis trademark design was started by Ridley while in high school. He found it as a way to describe who he is as a designer. “It’s a reminder to myself, to keep myself humble, and to remember where I started,” Ridley said. “I want people to feel a certain way about it, I want them to have their own interpretation to it. But, at the same time, keep in mind who I am as a person, and as a designer.”

The clothing brand is contemporary and simple. It’s crafted in a way to converge street wear clothing and haute couture into one style. Ridley has successfully set a standard for his brand at an early on is his design career.

The summer 2012 launch of the brand was when Ridley began getting experience in the art of design. His website and look book that showcases the Somniis clothing highlights the quality of the brand.

Not only does he focus on crafting sweatshirts, classic t-shirts, or jackets—he also includes projects for Kite and A-line dresses in his recent work. Ridley said he really started to see the brand having potential during his sophomore year in college.

He had a lot of requests from his hometown in the State of New York. Once his work began to cultivate more traction, everything became more promising. “That kind of validated me. Now it’s a matter of capitalizing on it,” Ridley said.

Ridley also knows the environment he is getting himself into. In 2015, a New York Times’ story on “Fashion’s Racial Divide,” reported that of the 260 designers at New York Fashion Week that year, only 4 percent of them were black.

Stanton Ridley, creator of Somniis menswear and womenswear clothing. (Phillip Jackson//The Hampton Script)

Listen below:

Consistency is the foundation behind Somniis.

The simplistic lettering, the creation of the clothes and the distribution of the brand is Ridley’s way of trying to help his customers understand who he is as a designer.

“Well that’s one of the most important things with a brand, is to be able to have an aesthetic,” Ridley replied. “So, as a designer and as a creative director, of anything not just fashion, but art in general, it has to be parallel like people have to be able to see.”

With his collections, Ridley’s product is a reflection of what he sees himself wearing. It’s specific to his eye and creativity, which helps his brand stand apart from many other young aspiring designers.

“I always keep what I like in collections and in pieces that I drop,” he said. “I just wanted to be experimental, I didn’t want to bring anything that people are already doing. I like to push the envelope when it comes to the design itself.”

Ridley works as a fashion designer similair to how a painter works as a creative director. He says that in order to be a great designer, with a quality product, “You really have to live in that field,” and that he spends a lot of times looking at thousand of images a day on the computer.

He describes fashion and creative directing as a “psychological game.” His brand and how it is distributed to local students and other customers is what he believes has helped his clothing business stand alone. As the brand of Somniis continues to expand, Ridley believes that his talent will also.

“What I don’t want to happen is, God to give me a gift to design stuff, and I’m dormant with it,” Ridley replied. “I want to bring quality clothes, with strong messages behind it.”

Desired Supplies for a desired look

(Desired Beauty Supplies)
(Desired Beauty Supplies)

Nyaa Ferary | Features Editor

In the Hampton Roads area, there are so many local establishments to try. Since the results of this year’s election season, it is vital to find ways to support black owned businesses to keep the money in communities of color.

Attending an HBCU, it’s common to hear conversations of backing our peers and raising each other up, but an even bigger topic would be hair. With that being said, this week’s local black owned business is the Desired Beauty Supplies store founded here in the Hampton area. For the hair gurus and dudes trying to keep their dos sharp and slayed, head over to Desired Beauty Supplies for all your hair care needs.

Desired is located on Big Bethel Road about 15 minutes away from campus by the Hampton Town Center. The beauty supply carries the common and popular products that you are probably accustomed getting from your local beauty store back at home.

Desired Beauty Supplies opened back in December of 2011. Their goal was to fill the gap that they felt was missing in their community, which was hair care. This family business prides themselves on their ability to understand what each customer needs.

They carry hair products like Cantu Shea Butter, Crème of Nature and Motions, in addition to the numerous hair tools, jewelry, wigs and weaves, braiding hair and relaxers that the average person might be interested in as well. There is something available there for everybody.

The beauty supply cares about the community and often participates in clothing drives and other community service events. They also have participated in beauty expos and workshops for natural hair.

Lately, many people both men and women have been paying more attention to the health of their hair and have been focusing on growth.

Therefore, the beauty supply is a great resource to learn about the different products that would be beneficial to black hair because they know firsthand about the types of hair care lines that work and that do not.

Desired Beauty Supplies is open most days from 10am until 8pm. Be sure to follow them on Instagram as well @desiredbeautysupplies.

Hampton’s Newest HBCU All-Star: Pearis Bellamy

2016-2017 White House HBCU All-Star Pearis Bellamy
2016-2017 White House HBCU All-Star Pearis Bellamy

Nyaa Ferary | Features Editor

Pearis Bellamy is one of three Hampton students named a White House HBCU All Star. She is a junior psychology major, leadership studies minor from New Jersey. Attending Hampton on scholarship was a long time goal of hers that she was able to achieve as she began her tenure at Hampton along with the Ogre Phi Ogre ’16 class. She is a part of the Freddye T. Davy Honors College and found out about the opportunity to be an HBCU All Star from an email that Dr. Sabin Duncan put out last semester. Her love of Hampton, HBCUs as a whole and the inspiration from President Obama and his administration gave her the necessary courage to apply.

As an HBCU All-Star, Pearis is expected to serve as an ambassador for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities for approximately one year. The initiative will provide outreach opportunities and communicate to the student body various networking resources and the value of a college education. Through this relationship, Pearis will be able to show her fellow students just how many resources are available to enable them to succeed. Pearis Bellamy says, “Oftentimes, you hear news about HBCUs struggling or people questioning our importance, but being able to hear people encourage us and support us is beautiful to me. I hope to be a liaison for others on campus to utilize the opportunities out there for us. We are the future and it is up to us to ensure that the legacy of HBCUs continues.”

This opportunity brought her closer to two of her friends on campus that were also awarded this opportunity. Ashleigh Williams from Fort Washington, Maryland and Michael McGee from Detroit, Michigan, are also participating in this program. The experience thus far has impacted Bellamy’s decision to register for the White House conference this October. She will be able to meet people from HBCUs all across the United States as well as representatives that work for various agencies within the government and all over the world.

Pearis plans on being an advocate for students to become more self-aware of their internal and external wellness. Pearis says, “I plan to use this platform to inform students on campus about their health. This includes physical, mental and emotional health. There are resources for college students that many do not take advantage of. I plan to do this through awareness events about STDs, mental health and insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. No matter how successful we may all strive to be, an unhealthy lifestyle can hinder those aspirations. I hope to be a resource and a friend to those on campus as we navigate through college and try to live our best lives.”

Besides being a White House HBCU All Star, Pearis Bellamy is also the founder of her own businesses called “Positively Pearis” and Youth Nation Seminars as well. She is also serving as Miss Sophomore for the 2016 school year. For more information visit her business websites and, and follow her on Instagram @pearisbellamy or Twitter @pearis_bellamy.

Meet HU Student and YouTube Star Nia Imani

Jasmine Turner | Staff Writer

Nia Imani Wellman is a second year strategic communications major from Lithonia, Georgia. Nia is known around campus for her YouTube channel “Nia Imani” which consists of fashion, makeup and beauty tips. Nia Wellman defines beauty as, “Whatever makes me feel confident and the best about myself. Somedays I look in the mirror and see fuzzy edges and other days, I beat my face and slay my hair, but in both cases I still think I’m beautiful. I think its essential for people to have their own definition of beauty and not solely rely on the opinions of others.”

Most people question why she decided to make YouTube videos. Her response was “I didn’t really see someone who reminded me of myself and I was determined to change that.” There are so many little girls who watch YouTube videos and can easily start to change themselves to be like the person they see. Even though Nia put herself in this “role model” position, she doesn’t see herself as one. Instead, she views herself as “someone people can relate to and appreciate”. In essence, the overall message of her channel is to affect lives, influence and encourage her viewers. So what exactly is the message of her channel? Nia explains that the message she wants to send through her YouTube channel is to be unapologetically you, continue to strive for excellence and just be successful in all your endeavors.

Lately, YouTube has developed the potential to lead into many career opportunities being that it can be a successful job within itself. Nia’s goal, however, is “to travel and share my journey as well as be in a position to give back.” For those interested in starting a YouTube channel of their own, here is Nia’s advice to you: “Be yourself, be consistent, be patient and always improve the quality of your content.”

YouTubers often get harassed with hateful comments, profanity and even racism. Not only does YouTube impact others but it does have an impact on the blogger too. “I think the biggest way YouTube has affected my life is knowing that my College Vlog series has inspired so many people to not only come to Hampton, but to also continue their education in general.” Nia in fact is still a full time student but how does she balance school and YouTube? She says, “Balancing school is pretty easy to me. School will always be my number one priority and YouTube just happens to be a hobby that I am able to juggle.”

It is important to be all you can be and put 100 percent dedication into it. Nia has gained a reputation around Hampton’s campus for the simple fact that she took a chance and she succeeded, Nia says one word to describe herself would be “Electric” and she is just that. Be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel “Nia Imani” and follow her on Instagram @niabiafoefia.

From an HU Alum to a marketing professional

(Courtesy of Andrew Nguyen)
(Courtesy of Andrew Nguyen)

Phillip Jackson | Web Editor

Hampton alumni and former campus DJ, Andrew “Audio” Nguyen is in the process of expanding his business the “O Agency.” Nguyen, a member of the Ogre Phi Ogre 14 class was a five-year MBA major and understood the importance of establishing a strong network across the campus. His business savvy has propelled him into successfully creating a brand and performance marketing agency that focuses on professional athletes, small businesses, and contractors.

The O Agency works to elevate their client’s brand whether it be through social media or traditional marketing. Nguyen gave insight on how he started his agency, and what his plans are in the future.

Q: Give a detailed rundown of your business.

A: We are a brand & performance marketing agency. We help everyone from startups to gov. contractors to all-star NFL & NBA athletes brand themselves, tell their stories, build audiences, grow their business and fulfill their dreams. We’ve worked with brands that have 10 followers to 1 Million followers such as @dribble2much. Some of our recent clients have included, Pepsi, 7-Eleven, Rolls Royce, & our pro-athletes include Victor Oladipo, Tyrod Taylor, DeAngelo Hall, Jordan Reed just to name a few.

Q: How long has your business been around? 

A: The O Agency started in 2013 right after I graduated from HU’s 5-year MBA program and at the same I was working a full-time job at PepsiCo. The first year was the hardest, I would start at 5am for Pepsi come home around 5pm then put in another 6-8 hours for @theOagency. I was also HU Athletic’s official DJ at the time so if there was a game, I would drive an hour down to Hampton, DJ from 6-10pm for a double header drive an hour back, then put in a few more hours for my company. That first year I was grinding, easily 20 hour days, every single day. But the adrenaline was keeping me going and I knew this was something I was destined to do. I enjoyed every minute of it, even though I was only getting a few hours of sleep every night.

Q: What are some things you did in college as a student before you became an professional entrepreneur after graduating?

A: I loved networking so I joined as many clubs as possible. I did Society of Business Professionals, Future Business Leaders of America, American Marketing Association, Pre-Pharmacy Club, Mr. Senior etc. and of course my favorite The Greer Dawson Student Leadership Program.

Q: Were there any other businesses that you started in school but then failed on?

A: Freshman year I put a sign on the door “Audio’s Barbershop” and cut hair in James Hall. $5 all day! It used to pay for my holland parties and extracurricular night activities lol. Of course then I became one of the main campus DJ’s right after DJ Tay James left (Justin Biebers Official DJ) That made more money, so no need to pay for parties & cut hair. As I entered by 5th year, I made sure the new upcoming boys were set up so we would all break bread together doing events. Non of it failed, I just leveled up and stopped doing it. Trading time for money is limiting. Having a hustle is cool. Having a company with systems, processes, and automated marketing is cooler.

Q: What are some things you did well and some things you would have done differently?

A: My gift and passion always boiled down to branding & marketing. No matter what I did, wether I was cutting hair, DJ’ing in front of sold out Norva Concerts, or throwing the hottest homecoming parties. One of the biggest keys I preach now is to “Differentiate & Target”. Once you have the master skills of business and entrepreneurship, I do everything different, it’s the only way to stand out!

Q: How important is it to extend your network beyond Hampton?

A: Very important. I will say that Hampton however is one of the most amazing networks I have ever experienced. If you take advantage of it in school and build meaningful relationships with student, staff, and faculty it will pay off 10X! As a student and recent grad, it can feel like a bubble, but everything you go through at Hampton really makes you better and stronger for the real world. It’s big enough where you can pretty much go to any city and find Hamptonian’s but it’s small enough where everybody will greet you & connect with you like family.

Q: How did Hampton’s business school enhance your knowledge in the professional business field?

A: The 5-year MBA program was the greatest thing that happened to me in college. Funny thing is you just don’t realize it until after you graduate. I was definitely a little shy when I first started the program, by my 5th year, I was the most confident and well prepared I have ever been in life. After my 5th year, I had like 5 job offers all around the country. I give credit where credit is due like Dean Credle says so there it is, Shoutout to HU’s  School of Business. Did they get a new building yet btw?

Q: What are some innovative ideas that you are working on to enhance your entrepreneurship ?

I’m ALWAYS learning and enhancing. You have to stay INNOVATIVE in today’s world to compete. Everything I do right now is around the Tech field, Diversity Enhancement, and Millennials. If you focus on those 3 areas there will be a lot of money there in the next 5-20 years guaranteed!

Q: How do you factor in diversity in to your business ?

A: Diversity is very important to me. I am a minority and as a graduate of Hampton University so I want to be able to put on for fellow Hamptonians and HBCU’s all across the country.  I will actually be looking for summer interns this summer in almost every major city across the US because we have some BIG expansion plans and EVENTS ie. LA, ATL, DC, Detroit, NY and more! People can email us if their interested now!

Q: What are your future plans?

A: Last year I went to a conference and their were 10,000+ people, all white americans. I’m going to create something even bigger and sexier, but when you look around it will be a much better representation of what America looks like today, 10,000+ diverse minorities. Everyone in there striving, growing, learning about marketing & entrepreneurship. That’s in the works right now and I’m really excited to launch that soon! If you want you can always stay updated with what I’m doing @BrandWithDrew or check out my personal site