Apple Hosting HBCU Arts and Entertainment Accelerator Program for 50 Students

Apple is hosting 50 students from 19 historically Black colleges and universities for an immersive two-week experience as part of the Propel Center’s arts and entertainment industry accelerator.

Apple and Southern Company are the founding partners of Propel Center, launched in 2011 as a hub designed to support and advance the work of HBCUs. The organization’s 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator program is a year-long experience launched exclusively for HBCU students, designed to create greater diversity in the arts and entertainment industry.

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The Propel Center’s arts and entertainment accelerator kicks off at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., on June 10, and concludes at Atlanta’s Clark Atlanta University the week of June 16. Students also will be invited to participate in career conversations and resume-building workshops, and spend time with industry experts at the Apple Music offices and Apple’s retail store location in Nashville. Participants will use Apple technology and tools to create music, design album art, and “tell their stories through digital marketing,” according to Propel Center’s announcement.

The program concludes with a showcase where teams will have the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of industry judges, get feedback to support their career development, and network with professional recording artists and industry executives.

Apple’s support for the Propel Center and the 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator is part of the tech giant’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to expand opportunities for Black, Hispanic/Latinx and Indigenous communities worldwide through education, economic empowerment and criminal-justice reform.

“Creativity is central to everything we do at Apple, and we’re thrilled to help create more pathways into the arts and entertainment industries for HBCU students,” Alisha Johnson Wilder, director of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, said in a statement. “Through Propel Center’s programming, we’re helping expand opportunities for emerging creators from diverse backgrounds by ensuring these talented students have access to the technology, resources, and expertise they need to become leaders in the creative arts.”

Propel Center president Dr. Lisa Herring commented, “Harnessing the undeniable power of creativity and collaboration has enabled Propel Center and Apple to establish a nurturing and inspiring environment to cultivate the many talents of our HBCU students. This year’s accelerator marks a continued commitment from Apple and our industry partners to help address equity and diversity gaps in the arts and entertainment industry and other critical business sectors.”

Each year, Propel Center convenes HBCU students from across the U.S. in both virtual and in-person learning opportunities through industry-specific panels, online courses offered on the Propel Learn app and other engagement opportunities with industry leaders. In addition to the Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator, Propel Center has launched similar programs focused on agri-tech, health and cybersecurity.

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