Reppin' Clark Atlanta: 16 Celebrities Who've Attended The HBCU

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ESSENCE.com Oct, 21, 2017

Southern charm intertwined with the sophistication of an urban city, Atlanta, Georgia has nurtured an array of visitors and locals alike with her rich historical culture, musical and entertainment industry flair, and quality educational institutions which all help to create an evolving society of game changers, influencers and leaders.

One educational institution in particular, Clark Atlanta University founded after Clark College and Atlanta University consolidated in 1988, has her own notable alumni that continue to make their mark not only on their Alma mater, but also the world. Clark College, founded in 1869, and Atlanta University, founded in 1865, consolidated in 1988 to form what is now known as the illustrious Clark Atlanta University.

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Political organizer, media personality and former Miss New Jersey 2004, Ingram graduated from CAU in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She has worked to uphold ideals such as justice, equity and women’s rights by serving as Head of Logistics and a National Organizer with the Women’s March on Washington and as National Executive Director of National Action Network (NAN). Currently she serves as Director of National Partnerships for Airbnb and also serves as a National Board Member for the Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network.

2 of 16 Teneille Gibson

A 2007 Mass Media Arts graduate and Emmy award winning journalist and editor, Teneille has created various newscasts and special projects including Emmy nominated, “Celebrating Black History Month,” and “District Matters.” She has also won several Emmys for “editing within 24 hours” and video journalist in the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter. Currently Gibson works with NBC4 Washington.

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Tony award-winning Broadway and film director and graduate of CAU with many notable works including A Streetcar Named Desire, A Raisin in the Sun and The Wiz Live! Currently, Leon’s Holler if Ya Hear Me is showing at Kenny Leon’s True Color Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Writer and producer known for blockbuster work such as the movie Girls Trip, television shows, Black-ish and America’s Next Top Model. Barris a 1996 CAU grad is currently working on Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish highlighting eldest daughter Zoey Johnson’s (Yara Shahidi) experiences in young adulthood.

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Lee starred as the original Mars Blackmon. Since then, he has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and is currently the executive producer on the updated version of She’s Gotta Have It, and other projects that foster new voices in film.

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Recording artist Bobby V studied Mass Communications at CAU. Known for hits like “Slow Down,” which went certified gold, he has currently signed a new deal with Universal Music Group. His next album is slated to release in 2018.

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Abernathy, a notable Civil Rights activist earned his Master of Arts in Sociology from Atlanta University in 1951. Best friend to Martin Luther King Jr., he worked tirelessly for civil rights during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Freedom Rides. He was also 2nd President of SCLC. In addition to numerous other accolades and awards, Southwest Atlanta’s Interstate 20 has also been named in his honor.

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Author, educator, civil rights activist and songwriter for the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing," Johnson graduated from Atlanta University in 1894. He served as executive secretary for the NAACP from 1920-1930. He also served as US Consul in Nicaragua and Venezuela and was the first African American professor at New York University. He wrote "Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing" to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, a song later adopted as the Negro National Anthem.

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The music producer and songwriter studied Music Education at CAU from 1997-1999 and worked alongside award-winning artists such as Mariah Carey, Usher, Mary J. Blige and Toni Braxton. Cox currently holds the Guinness World Record for longest consecutive period of chart success on the Billboard charts. He’s also responsible for platinum hits such as "U Got it Bad," "Shake It Off," and "Let’s Get Married," to name a few.

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Co-founder/CEO of WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) and Head of Black Community Engagement at Google, Valeisha graduated from CAU in 2000 with a BA in Political Science. Her work with WEEN and Google continues to engage, influence and improve the lives of people of color.

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The sports journalist currently works at ESPN where he hosts The Evening Jones, a weekly podcast, The Right Time With Bomani Jones on ESPN Radio, and previously co-hosted ESPN show Highly Questionable, alongside Dan Le Batard. Jones, an Economics major, graduated from CAU in 2001.

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DJ, record producer, record executive, and rapper DJ Drama attended CAU in 1996. DJ Drama helped revolutionize how we hear and receive music through his early 2000s mixtapes and brand Gangsta Grillz. He has charted on the Billboard’s Hot 100 and released his 5th album, Quality Street Music 2, in 2016.

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Reid, who graduated in 1995 with a BA degree in Print Journalism, is best known for her broadcasting role on BET’s Nightly News from 2001-2005. She is a television/radio personality and journalist and is currently a co-host on NBC New York’s New York Live.

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The model and actress celebrates her birthday Oct. 30.

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After signing with Bad Boy Records, rapper Ma$e rose to the top of the charts with hit album Harlem World, boasting hit singles "Feel So Good" and "Looking at Me." Ma$e enrolled at CAU after initially leaving his rap career to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics while also following his calling in ministry and pastoring his own congregation. He currently has comeback to music and debuted on a track on Steve Aoki Presents Kolony album.

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Civil Rights Activist, philanthropist, scientist and entrepreneur, Williams studied Chemistry at CAU. He is well known for his efforts in civil rights and became a leader in the SCLC alongside Martin Luther King, Jr, Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Joseph Lowery. Williams was also founding president of Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, a social service organization that continues to help feed many during the holiday season.