The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) from Oct. 20 to 21, leaving a lasting impact on students and alumni alike. The tour was designed to be an empowering and enlightening experience for students and provide them with valuable insights, resources, and a platform to nurture their entrepreneurial ambitions.
The result was a weekend that celebrated the vibrant and diverse talents of the campus community, which coincided with a thrilling football game against Jackson State University. The tour’s centerpiece was the Walmart Creative Studio, a dynamic space where the retail giant continued its commitment to highlighting the remarkable talents of HBCU students.
Walmart chose three exceptional MVSU students to showcase their side hustles inside of the studio, with each being an example of the great potential that exists within the HBCU community.
Tevion Locklear is a photographer from Memphis, TN who started taking pictures in early 2023. He’s been primarily snapping photos at events around the city, but the Walmart Creative Studio inspired him to add portrait photography into his business. Tevion enjoys taking pictures from really high angles and mixing up the framing in unique ways. Although he’s relatively new to photography, he wants people to know that when you come to him, you’re going to get the best work ethic, new ideas, and a collaborative process to make sure you end up with pics that you love.
Samaria J. Williams is a licensed cosmetologist from Houston, TX who does both hair and makeup as her side-hustles. She is the go-to person for women on campus who want to get ready for an event since she offers multiple services. Samaria specializes in doing dreadlocks. She says that anyone who starts their “locs journey” is beginning a path toward greater self-love because it is a very long process that requires patience and commitment. Samaria went through the process between the end of her senior year in high school and her freshman year of college, and says that her personal journey of growing locs is symbolic of her growth as a woman.
Thomas Lyle is a streetwear designer from Fayetteville, GA, who co-founded a clothing brand called Money Cadets. He’s loved fashion since he was a teenager, and that passion slowly grew from admiring clothes to becoming curious about how they’re made. Artistic, versatile, and comfortable are the three words he uses to describe his brand to people. Going from living in a big city to attending MVSU was quite an adjustment for Thomas, but he says it’s helped him open himself up to new experiences. He’s confident that keeping that mindset in his entire life will be one of the main things that helps him continue to innovate with his designs.
The MVSU visit also featured the Walmart Black & Unlimited HBCU Tour panel. It included actor Terrence J, television personality Kennedy-Rue McCollough, and lawyer John T. Rose. They shared invaluable advice on turning side hustles into profitable ventures and breaking into diverse industries such as media and acting. Students even had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the panelists, gaining deeper insights into their chosen paths.
Atlanta-based influencer and talk radio show host Fly Guy DC made sure the tour continued on an impactful high note. As the host of it, he made it a point to have one-on-one conversations with each of the three students Walmart chose to spotlight and gave them advice on how to successfully turn their passions into profit.
MVSU was the last stop of the Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour. Visiting HBCUs all over the country, the tour brought networking opportunities, activities, and a ton of fun to each campus Walmart visited. But above all else, it dropped timeless jewels of wisdom on each student who attended, and provided a dozen Black creatives with the platform and resources to showcase their side hustle. It’s safe to say that Walmart was successful in its goal of empowering HBCU students to turn their dreams into reality.