When I started HBCU Pulse in conjunction with Urban Intellectuals on January 3, 2017, I was tasked with seeing the vision of what it could be and where it could go. I couldn’t. I have that problem sometimes. I always have amazing ideas but it’s always hard for me to fit it in to a grander plan. I’m always stuck in the present; I’m stuck on what I can feel now. Although I couldn’t see the future what I could do with Pulse, I saw what I did want to become. I wanted HBCU Pulse to be like The Shade Room.
I’ve always been a fan of the business model of The Shade Room. I loved how founder Angie Nwandu created such a sphere of influence within our culture. TSR is a part of our everyday lives, whether you like it or not. When you turn on your radio, you hear “The Shade Room”. When you watch TV, you hear “The Shade Room”. Even as you casually scroll through your timeline on social media, you’ll see your friends posting content from “The Shade Room”. I wanted that for Pulse. I still do.
On September 25, 2017, I was given an early birthday present from Complex Hustle. They interviewed Angie about the rise of The Shade Room and how they reinvented Celebrity News & Gossip. When I would stay weekends at Fort Valley State University and walk to the cafe for breakfast I’d play that episode on repeat. I told myself, “I can do this. I can graduate from FVSU and make HBCU Pulse a world-renowned brand.” So, that’s what I set out to do. My goal was to make HBCU Pulse a mixture of the HBCU advocacy & programming excellence of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” mixed with the relevance & culture shifting power of “The Shade Room”. Although we’re still on that journey, it warms my heart that The Shade Room posted our video on today.
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The moment was so surreal. My social media manager Kroix Hansen was the first to alert me of the amazing news that they reached out to feature the video I shot of my friend and Spring 2019 initiate of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated Karizmah Wall’s probate reveal. We had to fight to get pages to tag us in the post. This is the reason why. I didn’t know what our push to get pages to recognize our efforts would do but I knew it had to happen. Now, we’re on “The Shade Room”. This is huge for Fort Valley State University, the Delta Beta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Karizmah and me.
I don’t want this moment to happen and then fizzle away. I want this moment to be life-changing. I want this to be the start of Karizmah’s illustrious professional performance career. I want people to book Karizmah to perform at their events once we finish the fight against COVID-19. I want schools to book her to create choreography for their events. I always knew that this was the future for Karizmah. I hope and pray that this is the moment that catapults her to greater success.
For HBCU Pulse, I want this to be the moment where we cross over to a larger audience. I want the world to see the amazing students that HBCUs produce and help us in elevating their platforms. I also want to interview Angie Nwandu and possibly do work alongside TSR to provide opportunities HBCU Students, particularly those in business and media related majors. However, what I want the most is mentorship. I’d love to be able to connect with Ms. Nwandu and pick her brain. I want guidance on how to create an impact like hers in the HBCU Community. That will be the game-changing moment for me.
Above it all, I am grateful. Thank you to The Shade Room for posting our content. Thank you to the HBCU Pulse family for always supporting us. And, most importantly, thank you to Karizmah for working with me these past three years and always believing in the vision. We did it!!!!!