Lifting Black Creative Voices

Desi smiles outside on campus.

Today we are highlighting Black students who major in creative fields at Rowan University. Each share insight on being a Black student in a major/field where there is not strong representation and tell us where they are headed in their professional careers.

Jabreeah smiling and wearing a grey Rowan sweatshirt with a burnt orange jacket.

“I really didn’t have an insight being a Black student coming from a predominantly white high school; however, when I got to college I was able to express myself about my views. In terms of my professional goals, I want to work behind the scenes in movies.” – Jabreeah Holmes, senior Radio/TV/Film major, Camden, NJ

Check out some of Jabreeah’s work on her YouTube channel.

An artistic photo of Giovanna with a halo over her head.

“Since Black women artists are not predominant in the art field nor get the representation that they deserve, it motivates me to stand out and make work that’s unique or different. Also, to make work that responds to Black issues and beauty. For my professional goals, I’m still debating about that. Right now, I’m considering a career in the museum field like a museum archivist, a curator or a crime scene technician in the forensic/ law and justice field.” – Giovanna Eley, senior Art major with a minor in Law and Justice and CUGS: Forensic Studies, transfer student from Rutgers Camden,  Plainfield, NJ (Union County)

Check out Giovanna’s portfolio here: https://giovannaeley.com

Sabrea posing for a photo on the beach.

“It feels really good to be who I am and be a part of this field that I think is also teaching me more and more of who I am. I was mainly the only Black person in my writing courses, there were maybe one to two more if that. My professional goals are to just write, to be happy in doing so, I hope to maybe get a book published of a selection of pieces I have written! Maybe even submitting a script to a production company!” – Sabrea Bishop of Newark, NJ (Essex County), junior, first-generation college student, Writing Arts (Creative Writing) major, transfer from Albright College, PA 

Check out Sabrea’s work here

Daija posing outside the student center while wearing a furry black coat.

“It gets a bit lonely, especially walking into a class and being able to count the Black students in the room on one hand. But with that it mind, it keeps me determined to make sure other Black creatives feel comfortable enough to be in the room in the first place. I feel as though creative fields aren’t taken as seriously, but people are always enjoying new books and shows and pieces of art. So, I feel as though by being confident in myself in my creative life, I can be an inspiration for others to actually go for their creative craft, instead of pushing it away because of fear. My professional goals are to write movies, books, and possibly television shows for people to enjoy. I also want to create different forms of art like paintings and sculptures and have my work displayed in galleries all over.” – Daija McNeil, junior, first generation college student, Studio Art major with a minor in Creative Writing, Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County)

See Daija’s artwork here.

Read Daija’s written piece, “A Love Letter To Black Women,” here.

Desi sitting outside the student center holding her book.

“It’s definitely difficult, when I come to class I am either the only Black student or it may be me or maybe two others, never more than five. In any field you want to see a model to follow and it’s hard when you have to be your own model. In terms of professional goals, I have so many; however, the one related to this field would be to start my own production company.”  – Desi Jones, junior Radio/TV/Film major, transfer from Camden County College, Camden County, NJ

Check out and purchase Desi’s book “Daily Dose of Desi, A Year of Light, Love, and Inspiration” here

Bryce outside the Campbell library wearing a yellow and black jacket.

“The writing industry is no stranger at all to minorities, but Blacks are rarely highlighted in that field. I think a part of that is due to both the immutable nature of the industry and Blacks being unaware of how much they can benefit from having a career in creative fields. I feel that Black students are the perfect participants for writing arts by the simple fact that we don’t go through the same experiences as everyone (even ourselves) and have a different view on life than most others. While I’m currently a freelance writer for an online publication (Screen Rant), I plan to expand my writing to an even greater professional level with my ultimate goal of working on a TV series or film.” – Bryce Morris, junior Writing Arts major, Trenton, NJ (Mercer County)

Read one of Bryce’s published pieces here

A selfie of Mya.

“I feel like there’s a different type of pressure. I personally feel like I have to be better and focus more in order to do what. One reason I wasn’t interested in doing broadcasting was my hair. I didn’t want to have to wear it straight or certain way to look “professional.” I find it difficult on how to be myself yet also “professional” because the second you might sound rude you have an “attitude” or maybe you talk “too loud” and now you’re considered the loud Black girl with an attitude. For my professional goals, I hope to become a magazine writer, focusing on music!” – Mya Calderon, junior, first-generation college student, Journalism major with a minor in Psychology from Hanley Falls, Minnesota

A selfie of Khadijah.

“For my professional goals, I want to be a freelance concept artist for a video game one day. But I also want to make and direct on my projects and hopefully be financially stable. Some advice for Black high school students going into creative majors: Make sure you build your portfolio and be aware that traditional pieces are a must have when trying to get into the art program. Make sure you bring at least two traditional art pieces for your review! This was a hard pill for me to swallow when I first did an art portfolio review, and I only drew cute anime-inspired chibis. But trust me, your hard work will pay off! Cartoony/semi-realism stuff is okay to add too! If you do digital, I recommend coming in with a time-lapse of your workflow process on a tablet/laptop to show! Also, don’t listen to cynical individuals saying you drawing anime and character art, won’t get you a job. Sure, the market is competitive but there are plenty of art jobs out there looking for different art styles of all sorts! Anime included! Make sure you do your research!” – Khadijah Owens of Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County), junior Art major working toward a dual major in Art Education, transfer from Rowan College at Gloucester County 

Check out some of Khadijah’s work here.  

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior Music Industry major

Photography not submitted by: Jabreeah Holmes, senior Radio/TV/Film major and Joe Gentempo, senior Art major

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