Apple Launches HBCU Arts and Entertainment Accelerator Program for 50 Students

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The Apple logo is seen on its retail store in Los Angeles, California, USA, 21 March 2024.

Apple is currently hosting 50 students from 19 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for an intensive two-week program as part of the Propel Center’s arts and entertainment industry accelerator.

Founded in 2011, Propel Center is a collaborative effort between Apple and Southern Company aimed at supporting and advancing the work of HBCUs. The 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator program, a year-long initiative launched exclusively for HBCU students, seeks to foster greater diversity within the arts and entertainment sector.

The Propel Center’s arts and entertainment accelerator commenced at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 10 and will conclude at Atlanta’s Clark Atlanta University during the week of June 16. As part of the program, students will engage in career conversations, attend resume-building workshops, and interact with industry experts at Apple Music offices and Apple retail locations in Nashville. Participants will utilize Apple technology and tools to develop music, design album art, and craft digital marketing strategies, according to Propel Center’s announcement.

The program culminates in a showcase where teams will present their projects to a panel of industry judges, receive feedback to aid in their career development, and network with professional recording artists and industry executives.

Apple’s involvement with the Propel Center and the 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator is part of the company’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, aimed at expanding opportunities for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous communities worldwide through education, economic empowerment, and criminal justice reform.

Alisha Johnson Wilder, director of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “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.”

Dr. Lisa Herring, president of Propel Center, emphasized the importance of creativity and collaboration in addressing equity and diversity gaps in the arts and entertainment industry.


She 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.”

In addition to the Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator, Propel Center offers various programs focused on agri-tech, health, and cybersecurity, convening HBCU students from across the U.S. for virtual and in-person learning opportunities, industry panels, and online courses through the Propel Learn app.

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