Iconic director and Morehouse alum Spike Lee partners with Gersh Agency to launch the HBCU Fellowship Program in Atlanta, Georgia. The partnership will create more opportunities for students at historically Black colleges and universities.
“It is with great honor, privilege, and excitement to announce the Spike Fellows in association with my partners The Gersh Agency and the AUCC,” Lee noted in an official statement. “From the jump, from the get-go, I knew when (not if) I opened a crack in the door, I was bringing as many Black and Brown folks with me in front and behind the camera.”
Lee, who has contributed timeless films representative of the Black community from Mo’ Betta Blues and School Daze to She’s Gotta Have It and Do The Right Thing, has teamed up with Gersh for the debut of the Spike Fellows Program, which was created to nurture the innovation of creative talent from four historically Black institutions within the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC): Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and The Morehouse School of Medicine.
The Spike Fellows Program will begin this month with five fellows selected by a panel including Lee, members of the AUCC community, and Gersh management. Led by Gersh’s Head of Culture, Jayson Council, the Spike Fellows Program will provide five graduating students from AUCC academic debt relief, industry mentorship, post-graduate internships, and full-time employment.
As Lee continued on the occasion:
“I know firsthand the education one receives at a Historically Black College and University. I am who I am because of my grandmother (Zimmie Jackson) and my mother (Jacquelyn Shelton Lee) who both graduated from Spelman College. I am who I am because of my grandfather (Richard Jackson Shelton) and my father (William Lee) who both graduated from Morehouse. It’s on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse where they met, fell in love, and got married. As my elders often told me, ‘Deeds not words.’
In November 2022, Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, joined Spelman College President Dr. Helene Gayle to honor their family’s legacy with the renaming of the College’s Admissions Office in honor of Spike’s grandmother, Zimmie Reatha Shelton, and mother, Jacquelyn Shelton Lee, both of whom were Spelman College alumna from the Class of 1929 and Class of 1951, respectively.