HBCUs are not only home to popping homecoming parties and magnificent band competitions. They house arts and academic programs that rival their predominantly white counterparts in every way.
Leaders in every field ranging from the sound stage to the boardroom have attended HBCUs. See what celebs got their start at Maryland’s Morgan State University below.
Robert F. Chew
Before he was buying for a dollar and selling for two the actor who brought Proposition Joe to life on HBO’s The Wire studied music at Morgan State University.
Earl G. Graves
Black Enterprise founder and philanthropist, Earl G. Graves, Sr., sharpened the skills he used to become a major business force at Morgan State University.
NEW YORK - MARCH 05: Earl G. Graves, Sr. attends the United Negro College Fund 65th Anniversary dinner at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on March 5, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
The Tony Award-nominated playwright and screenwriter studied at Morgan State before going on the depict the Black experience in celebrated plays and on shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
AWCAAC / YouTube
Ryan received a degree in broadcast journalism prior to claiming her place as the White House press room's edge-snatcher-in-chief.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 07: April Ryan attends the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)
Before she was using her sultry voice to ask us all to "Hear It For The Boy" Williams was walking the halls of Morgan State University.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 19: Singer Deniece Williams attends the Hands and Hearts of Hope Foundation Giveback with The Artists Project at An Evening Of Fun and Comedy at The Comedy Store on June 19, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images for The Artists Project)
Baltimore native Kevin Liles went to Morgan to study electrical engineer but he picked up the art of the hustle instead. He dropped out and went on to become one of the biggest names in the music industry.
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Kevin Liles attends The LegaCCy Gala at The Shed on September 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images)
Verda Welcome learned the history of her people before heading to the Senate to defend them. A bridge on the campus is named in her honor.
Teacher, civil rights leader, and Maryland state senator Verda Welcome, 1980. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
She may have loved Morgan for real but even that wasn’t enough to keep her from the spotlight. She was forced to answer the call of show business before graduating.
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actress / Comedian Mo'Nique attends the premiere of "Almost Christmas" at Regency Village Theatre on November 3, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
The Billboard chart-topping Jazz singer got her education at Morgan State University before getting her start in show business as a backup singer for Stevie Wonder.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Singer Maysa Leak attends the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)