Photo: Getty
  /  09.20.2022

Dreaming big is great, but connecting with people who can help make those dreams come true is even better. The clock is ticking and this weekend (Sept. 24 and Sept. 25), many will head down to Atlanta, Georgia for the third annual REVOLT Summit x AT&T. With this year’s theme being “The Future is Now,” it was only right to hear directly from the next generation of changemakers about why attending an event of this caliber would be a dream come true as they begin to map out their plans for life.

In June, REVOLT Chairman Sean “Diddy” Combs pledged $1 million to two historically Black colleges and universities during his acceptance speech as the recipient of the 2022 BET Lifetime Achievement Award. The effort was to ensure that both Howard University, which is housed in the nation’s capital, and Jackson State University, located in Mississippi, have the resources needed to help students not only survive, but also thrive. The sentiment is the same during the REVOLT Summit so we caught up with current HBCU students, recent graduates, and young adults to discuss what opportunities for both growth and development lie ahead at the two-day event.

1. Luke Lawal, CEO and founder of HBCU Buzz

“It’s essential for college students to attend conferences like the REVOLT Summit because exposure allows them to tap into their various creative outlets,” said Lawal who is not only an HBCU grad, but quite the serial entrepreneur.

“Seeing representation from the ground up allows students to explore the possibilities in job placement across many different industries,” he continued. “REVOLT has made it possible to have a sense of power and community in entertainment, the nonprofit and lifestyle industries while also merging the worlds together to effectively disrupt traditional standards.”

 

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2. Tiana Ruffin, 2020 Hampton University graduate

As a recent graduate who earned her degree in the midst of a whole pandemic, Ruffin found herself facing an economy where employers were afraid to hire more people because of the unknown. Rather than crying over spilled milk, Ruffin used it as fuel to start her marketing business, Tiana Nichelle Marketing, LLC. She says, “Events like the REVOLT Summit can be life changing for young entrepreneurs and those who want to up their game.”

“In order to reach a certain level of success, one must be willing to invest in themselves. You must intentionally place yourself in the same rooms as those you aspire to emulate,” the 23-year-old told REVOLT. “At an event such as this, one conversation, one contact, one introduction can be the motivation or collaboration you’ve been looking for. With this amazing lineup of industry experts, artists and cultural leaders, the knowledge presented will be unmatched. As a young entrepreneur, I would place myself in a space where I know I’ll leave with moments of inspiration, transparency and authenticity from successful business owners who are more than willing to put us on. If you’re asking me, attending the REVOLT Summit shouldn’t even be a question.”

 

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3. Dr. Ashley Little, North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor’s Roundtable member

Dr. Ashley Little is an HBCU advocate, period. She believes it is vital for students at institutions that make up the world’s future entertainers, lawyers, doctors, scientists and more to attend the REVOLT Summit. “College students should attend summits like what REVOLT is putting on to prepare them for the real world,” she said. “They will gain real life strategies on how to make an impact on the culture. These type of events will help college students learn the importance of building effective relationships, financial literacy, social justice issues, and assist them.”

“I’m a big believer that it only takes one person to change your life,” expressed Dr. Little who practices what she preaches as the visionary behind The HBCU Experience Movement, LLC. It is the first Black-owned company to launch books written and published by prominent alumni across the world who attended HBCUs. “Showing up is the first step to building and creating your own table. I encourage all college students to attend the REVOLT Summit and to always be prepared to shoot your shot.”

4. Myaa Greene, Central State University student

Soon, Myaa Greene will be kissing her college experience goodbye as she enters her final years at Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio. She believes, “Attending events such as the REVOLT Summit can expand the horizons of young African American women and men, encouraging them to strive higher for success.”

“College is an escape for most young adults and it’s a place where they find people who truly care about them,” said Greene who is currently studying exercise science with a minor in nutrition. “Making these types of connections may be very important to them because they don’t have a supportive, caring or loving community at home. With that being said, a lot of young people don’t have role models in their lives or someone they can look up to. Seeing all of these icons during the REVOLT Summit will be such an exciting experience that they will cherish forever because they can gain wisdom, advice and opinions from someone they will remember forever.”

Furthermore, she says breaking out of your comfort zone to connect with like-minded individuals is key. “It’s important to have good networking skills, especially for all of the students who want to go into the entertainment business,” she explained. “If they are willing to ask about internships, job shadowing and more, there could be endless possibilities for their potential careers.”

5. Skye Millor-Hammond, Clark Atlanta University student

As someone who is still fairly new to the college experience, Skye Millor-Hammond is abreast to some of the things her community is up against and believes events like the REVOLT Summit can help shed light on those issues, opening the floor for discussions on how to level the playing field for Black Americans.

“In the past, the REVOLT Summit has addressed many issues and impactful topics that must be dealt with in the community,” said Millor-Hammond who is a sophomore studying education. “Informative topics like building generational wealth in the Black community and ‘earning your leisure.’ The topics have ranged from mental health, giving back to the community, generational wealth, Black is beautiful, Black is joy, and more. Listening to rappers and Black entrepreneurs speak about these topics is impactful because one would think since many have all of these material things, that they wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be a ‘regular’ person.”

“Attend not just to see the artists, but to build relations, build financial skills and to shoot for job opportunities. People can gain information about what steps can be taken to further their respective careers; gain communication, social skills and connections; and get in direct contact with leaders,” she urged. “From watching previous videos of the event, I came to the realization that in order for you to get to the place you want in life, you have to be yourself. Like one of the panelists said, ‘Be unapologetically yourself and authentic.'”

 

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