Grammy U Host HBCU Love Tour Event Providing Opportunities to HBCU Students

Photo by Juwan Lee

Grammy U hosts HBCU Love Tour Events in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College.

By Colin Royal, Staff Writer 

In partnership with Grammy U, Morehouse was able to be the second stop on the organization’s HBCU Love Tour. The purpose of this event was to highlight the next generation of creative musical artists that attend HBCUs. 

On Oct. 9, the tour kicked off with Student Showcase at Vinyl at Center Stage. During this show, various students from HBCUs in Atlanta were allowed to perform for a panel of influential artists and musical executives. The four judges of the competitions included: Sr. Project Manager of the Recording Academy– Len Brown, Grammy nominated songwriter and producer– Rico Love, Audio Engineer– Daniela Rivera and partner at Emagen Entertainment Group– Ebonie Ward. Out of all of the performers and artists that participated, the winner of the talent show was Clark Atlanta student, Nia Simone. 


In addition to getting the chance to perform in front of the four panelists on Sunday, Simone was able to put on her own performance to kick off the event on Oct. 10. Furthermore, Simone was presented $1,000 by The Recording Company’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion– Ryan Butler, Grammy award winning artist– JID, Atlanta artist– Baby Tate and head of the Black Music Collective– Rico Love. 


After the conclusion of the event, Simone explained her deep appreciation for both the opportunities provided by Grammy U as well as all of her peers who came to support her.


“I feel like they’re doing a great thing, giving students in the AUC a platform to build with and connect with other artists,” Simone said.

Though Simone was the focal point of the event on Oct. 9 as well as the opening performance on Oct. 10, Grammy U ensured that she was not the only student that benefited from the tour. After her performance, all of the students that were in attendance were to two panels full of talent and star power. 

Rico Love, JID and Baby Tate Panel

Photo by Juwan Lee

During this panel, Love interviewed JID and Baby Tate. He inquired about their respective creative decisions and overall development as artists, and asked them to provide advice and guidance to the student artists and prospective artists that were in attendance. 


“We’re looking toward the next generation in order to evolve and grow the Black music industry,” Love said.


Love opened the discussion with this statement, and he centered the panel around explaining how student artists can become the next generation of genius.  A large portion of this panel was used to implore up and coming artists to stay true to themselves. 


Baby Tate explained how her primary influence for her music was her mother. She talked about growing up in a household full of soul and music. Tate would take this influence and make it her own, leading her to develop a style that was unique to her. JID echoed similar sentiments. He talked about how music was not his first love.


“You don’t always marry your first love,” JID said.


JID originally was passionate about athletics. He played football at Hampton University; however, his athletic and academic career would be cut short after he was expelled. Despite losing his first love, JID did not give up, instead, he found another outlet for his love– music. JID was able to stay true to himself throughout his journey, and, eventually, everything fell into place for him. 


“You’ve gotta be truthful and comfortable in your own skin,” JID said. 


The panel concluded with Love thanking JID and Baby Tate for sharing their time and stories with him and the audience and encouraging both of them to support Grammy U and the Black Music Collective. 

Kat Graham and Armani White Master Class

Photo by Andy Harris

Famous actor, singer-songwriter, dancer and all around talent– Kat Graham’s one one one live interview with Armani White (Rapper, sing-songwriter and creator behind one of the most popular singles of 2022– “Billie Eilish”) concluded the event. 


The interview primarily centered around White’s rise to fame and popularity. Graham questioned him on his creative process, how his life has changed after his rise to widespread success and his perseverance throughout his long grind in the music industry.


White answered Graham’s line of questioning by detailing his personal story. He explained the taxing process of trying to get his popular song “Billie Eilish ” released.  White talked about creating merch, and constantly putting his material out to make sure that he was so active that his work could not be ignored.  


The interview was concluded with a personal anecdote from White. He talked about how 10 years ago he was sleeping in a parking lot in Philadelphia. During this time, he saw his peers achieve success and spend their money lavishly. Instead of being envious or deterred, White focused on himself and his craft.


“I stayed down, worked, grinded and stayed true to myself,” White said. “Where I’m going is going to be so far beyond.” 


With these closing remarks, White concluded his portion of the interview. Afterwards, Graham took the time to deliver a personal message to all of the students in attendance. She explained how she herself had her own humble beginnings. She encouraged everyone in the audience no matter what path they were on.


“Just keep going forward,” Graham replied.

Copy Edited by Miles Johnson