Billionaire Robert F. Smith's Promise to Pay Morehouse Grads Student Loans

Most graduates expect to be inspired by commencement speeches, but the seniors at Morehouse College received much more. Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith surprised the graduating class with a promise to pay their student loans.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” he told the newly minted graduates in Atlanta before saying his family was creating a grant to eliminate their student loans.

The reaction was a standing ovation where the students shouted in unison “MVP!”

“Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” he continued. “I want my class to look at these (alumni) — these beautiful Morehouse brothers — and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”

 

 

The total amount to cover the 300+ students has not been disclosed. The number is likely to reach “tens of millions of dollars,” says school President David Thomas to CNN. Calling it “a liberation gift,” he adds “When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained,”
Congratulations Morehouse Class of 2019!

By BSM Team

Feature photo: CNN

Video/Twitter @JoseMallabo

Grammy winning artist, Gloria Estefan and her producer-husband, Emilio Estefan, will be honored during the PBS music special, Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. This is the first time the Gershwin Prize will be awarded to a married couple or to musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent.

In America’s 2019 cultural landscape, black playwrights often get overlooked by both the black and white community. Plays are just simply not as accessible for young black Americans as they are for affluent white Americans. The money that black teenagers could spend on going to a theater production is often left for more commonly accepted storytelling mediums, like film and music. When it comes to seeing theater on Broadway, the theater industry often relies on celebrities and nontraditional casting to target Black audiences.

BSM: Why is it important for you to be attending the International Houston Black Film Festival?

 

Pamela: Just receiving the invitation was thrilling. It’s a great opportunity for parents who manage their showbiz kids; especially us “mommygers”-mom’s who manage their children. I’m not sure if there’s actually a term for dads. I’ll also be conducting a seminar for those wishing to manage their children. This will not be my first seminar, however, I’m very excited.

 

BSM:  You’ve been a long time manager for your son, Malcolm Jamal Warner. Is there one fond memory that you have?

 

Pamela:  I have over forty years of many memories. If I had to think of one in particular, it would probably be when I received a phone call from Malcolm. There was no excitement in his voice. He simply said “Mom, I got it!” I wasn’t familiar with the ratings of the show so I had no idea what this would mean for his future. During that time there was no internet, social media or other sources. When he was 13 years old and the first season was over, I remember thinking that was it- time to go home. My son looked at me and said “God didn’t bring us this far to let us down”. Needless to say, the ratings were good but I had no way of knowing that.

 

BSM:  Do you think it’s different being a talent manager in 2019?

 

Pamela: Absolutely! The process is easier as there are various services needed. Now it’s just the click of a button. The service the internet provides saves you at least 4-5 hours. The quality of the actors and expectations are probably the same, but things are definitely much easier. You’ve really got it made in 2019 with the help of social media. It’s not always necessarily a good thing but it’s just the way it is.

 

BSM:   Do you think there’s a difference in the way characters are developed?

 

Pamela:  Talent is pretty much the same. I do find that no one wants to do theatre. For me it’s the basis of acting. It’s a true test of talent which requires teamwork. Theatre experience makes a big difference. Not many people know this but Malcolm started with children’s theatre. Everyone wants to be a star but many aren’t willing to put in what it takes. Much is required to create a great foundation.

 

BSM:   In honor of Women’s History Month do you celebrate other women around you?

 

Pamela:   Not in any particular way. I support women in various ways. I’m a very good listener. I also offer encouragement to anyone going through a difficult time. It’s important to let them know they will get through tough times.

 

BSM:    Where was the last exciting place you visited?

 

Pamela:   I would definitely have to say Malta. I went on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise and really enjoyed it. It gave me such a special feeling. It’s like my body and soul connected to it. If I had a past life it was definitely connected to this place. I’ve been many places but this was very special. It was fabulous and I do plan on going back.

 

Thank you for taking the time to interview with BSM_Magazine.

 

By: BSM Team – La Trisha & La Tasha (Twins of Media)
Photo by: Getty Images