Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students map out their professional journeys in Nashville, the hub of American music.

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HBCU Students Explore Career Paths in the Heart of American Music Scene

On the vibrant streets of Nashville, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students are embarking on a transformative journey to shape their professional futures. Through a groundbreaking collaboration with Apple under its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, the PROPEL Center Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator is opening doors for these students in the world of music and creativity.

Empowered by qualities like empathy, strategic leadership, and storytelling, participants of the PROPEL program are delving deep into self-discovery. Liza Montgomery, a recent mass communications graduate from Xavier University of Louisiana, reflects on her journey, citing empathy as her superpower rooted in her role as an elder sibling.

The PROPEL experience is not just about self-discovery but also about practical career preparation. With micro-credential courses, virtual career panels, and résumé-writing workshops, students are equipped with the tools needed to navigate the competitive industry landscape.

This summer, selected participants from 19 HBCUs are immersing themselves in a 10-day program hosted by Tennessee State University in Nashville and Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta. Here, mentorship from industry professionals and hands-on collaboration at the Apple Music Nashville office await them.

At the core of this initiative is Apple’s $25 million investment to break down systemic barriers and create pathways for underrepresented communities. Dr. Lisa Herring, president of the PROPEL Center, emphasizes the power of industry experts guiding students towards excellence.

PROPEL Center serves as a beacon for educational programming in various disciplines, from AI and social justice to entertainment and app development. Apple’s commitment to fostering diverse talent and providing mentorship opportunities underscores its dedication to equity and access.

In the heart of Nashville, students engage in immersive experiences at the National Museum of African American Music, Apple Music Nashville office, and Universal Music Group’s East Iris Studios. These encounters with industry leaders shape their understanding of the music landscape.

Collaborating on projects centered around the theme of “Propelling Preservation,” students delve into highlighting the contributions of Black creatives to social movements. Through music, marketing plans, and visual campaigns created with Apple tools, they aim to amplify voices often marginalized in history.

For aspiring artists like Emmanuel Strickland, known as “Mille Manny,” access to tools like Voice Memos on the iPhone and Pro Tools on his MacBook is vital for shaping his musical journey. Collaborating with industry professionals and utilizing platforms like Logic Pro elevates the students’ creativity.

Through PROPEL, students gain not only technical skills but also a behind-the-scenes look at the music industry. Candid conversations with artists like Kirk Franklin provide insights into navigating the complexities of the field and building a successful career.

As the program bridges the gap between education and industry, it paves the way for internships, apprenticeships, and real-life connections. The PROPEL program stands as a beacon of opportunity, empowering HBCU students to carve out their paths in the world of arts and entertainment.

For press inquiries, please contact:

Aushawna Collins – [email protected]

Rachel Wolf Tulley – [email protected]

Apple Media Helpline – [email protected]

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