Photo: Mark Sagliocco/WireImage via Getty Images
  /  06.18.2022

Pharrell Williams surprised five HBCU students and recent graduates this Friday (June 17) by paying off their student debt.

The singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and entrepreneur announced the good news during an NAACP panel on the student debt crisis among Black students, as part of Williams’ Something in the Water Festival at the St. Regis hotel in Washington, D.C.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson tweeted photos of the moment the five NAACP student leaders found out they were going to be debt free. Johnson also used the moment to call on President Joe Biden to relieve all student debt. “@POTUS, it’s your turn now to do the same for all Americans plagued by student debt,” Johnson tweeted.

“Pharrell forever changed their lives. Student debt continues to disproportionately plague the Black community and crush opportunities for so many Black people,” Wisdom Cole, the NAACP’s national director of youth and college, who organized panel said in a press release. He added, “It is time to reduce the racial wealth gap, it is time for President Biden to fulfill his promise.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by NAACP (@naacp)

During Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign promise, he promised to cancel student if he was elected. “I am considering dealing with some debt reduction. I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction. But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness,” Biden also said in April.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 43 million Americans collectively have $1.6 trillion in federal student loan obligations. 

Williams’ surprise forgiveness comes a day after he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as part of songwriting duo the Neptunes, alongside his collaborator Chad Hugo.

Below are the names of the NAACP leaders had their student debt canceled:

  • Robyn Hughes, Southern University (Junior)
  • Damarius Davis, North Carolina AT (Alumni)
  • Jamie Turner, Norfolk State University (Alumni)
  • Channing Hill, Howard University (Senior)
  • Devan Vilfrard, Florida A&M University (Senior)



View More



View More


B. Simone vs. Desi Banks | 'Receipts'

On this episode of “Receipts,” Desi Banks puts his friendship with comedian and entrepreneur B. Simone to the test when they battle it out to guess contestant Darrius’ hidden talent. Presented by Walmart.

  /  05.16.2023

Desi Banks vs. Eric Bellinger | 'Receipts'

Get ready for “Receipts,” the all-new game show brought to you by REVOLT and Walmart where contestants battle it out to reveal a Black and Unlimited shopper’s hidden talent from clues on their shopping receipt! For the premiere, host Desi Banks goes three rounds with the one and only Eric Bellinger. Watch!



  /  05.09.2023

B. Simone and Desi Banks go head-to-head on “Receipts” game show

After a few pleasantries, Desi Banks and B. Simone dived right into the first round of gameplay – and it was hilarious from beginning to end.

  /  05.16.2023

Eric Bellinger stars in premiere episode of REVOLT’s new game show “Receipts”

REVOLT and Walmart are spotlighting everyday Black shoppers with unexpected talents on the new show.

  /  05.09.2023
View More