T.I. took a break from his budding comedy career to inspire some college students. Following a presentation that included speeches from the HBCU Propel Center and from T.I., the Propel Center awarded Wiley College President Herman J Felton Jr. an “Arts and Entertainment Grant” for $300,000 that will also include an opportunity for students to produce a film alongside T.I. and his Grand Hustle Films.
The lucky students who have been selected to participate in the film sat down with T.I. for a virtual lunch to celebrate the achievement on February 23. They will be crafting a movie based on the theme of “freedom,” and it will debut on streaming services following its completion in November. Additionally, the students will be able to visit Grand Hustle Films and receive direct mentorship from T.I. and other professionals within the industry.
“I know that there is just as much of a need to cultivate and support the young creatives in our communities as there is for the young scholars and the educators,” T.I. said of the students in a statement. “This is a way to pique the interest of young people, and allow them to express their perspectives through the lens in a way that isn’t done often enough, isn’t supported by the elder scholars. I think that this is a way to bridge the gap.”
“I’ve always been a big supporter of HBCUs and their mission to educate our people,” he added in closing. “I am excited to have Grand Hustle Films partner with Apple/Propel and Wiley College. I’m looking forward to helping Wiley’s students bring a film project from idea to the finished product.”
Larry Hampton, a student at Wiley College and Student Government Association President, added in his own statement that he was incredibly excited for the opportunity. “Getting to meet T.I. reminds me that I have so many opportunities as a student at Wiley College,” he said.
Senior Darrius Greene echoed this sentiment when he spoke to The Marshall New Messenger.
“I’m extremely excited,” he told the outlet. “I’m a very, very big fan of T.I. because we have similar stories and upbringings. I also write, perform and produce my own music, as well as shoot music videos and other films, which I post on social media and my YouTube channel. Being involved in a bigger project like this for me is a big opportunity, and I’m looking forward to this experience.”