The Carters Shine a Spotlight on HBCUs

Courtesy of Netflix

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have become two of the world’s best ambassadors for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

In 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella and she used the opportunity to take concertgoers – and those watching at home – to school, celebrating HBCUs on the main stage.

This incredible show was given new life in 2019 with the release of Homecoming, her more-than-two-hour documentary about her performance and the months leading up with it. Premiering on Netflix, she reached the platform’s 149 million subscribers, teaching many for the first time about HBCUs.

“So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates from historically black colleges and universities, including my father,” she said in the film. “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

Away from the stage, Jay Z’s non-profit, The Shawn Carter Foundation, offers high school students the chance to experience HBCUs around the country so they can get a better picture of their educational options.

The annual tour launched in 2007.

The 2019 Shawn Carter Foundation Bus Tour, which was sponsored by Toyota, took place in late April. The 7-day tour gave a select group of high-performing students a chance to visit 11 HBCUs. Students were also able to meet with college admission counselors and to meet with student ambassadors.

Isaiah, a 2018 participant, thought there were only two or three HBCUs before taking the tour. The tour opened his eyes to so many options, he said in a video posted to Twitter.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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