Ask any HBCU student or Alumni, and they will concur that the way one goes into an HBCU, is not the way they come out. The love and support HBCUs provide to their attendants is generally felt across the board. They produce an array of students with a variety of talents, who go on to conquer all aspects of the world.
Chef Julian a web series out of the Black & Sexy TV camp, is home to two proud HBCU alum Courtney Burrell and Javicia Leslie. If unfamiliar with the web series Chef Julian, here’s the rundown. Julian (Burrell) is a modern day bachelor who pulls out all the stops for his lovely ladies. “Cooking,” (because the food he cooks, looks cool, but none of the show’s characters thinks it’s bragging worthy,) and finessing his way into the hearts of three ladies. Mo ( Javicia Leslie,) who is his ex, happens to be one of them.
Both Burrell and Leslie are extremely satisfied with the experience they had at their universities. Javicia a graduate of Hampton University, and Courtney an alum of Delaware State University, both feel that their schools equipped them with the know how to maneuver in a post college world.
Burrell attended Delaware state as an Information Technology major. IT and acting are about as similar as apples and oranges, but it’s been working in his favor. “I’ve always been a nerd when it comes to computers, I love messing with computers and figuring things out.” Says Burrell. “I just wanted to take and put my skills with computers to work at school, but I’ve always considered myself an entertainer.” Operation plan B while having Plan A in motion, complete!
“I had teachers, certain professors at Delaware state that saw the potential in me to succeed. Not only in my field of IT, but they saw something in me that no one else did. That kind pushed me to keep in mind that I can be anything I want in my life if I just put my heart and soul into it.”
Courtney while never an on campus resident, describes himself as a big man on campus “I used to throw parties every other weekend, even though I didn’t stay there. Me and my boy threw parties. We had big security guards from like High School. They were like, “Yo are you gonna let this guy hop the line?” I would say “I don’t know him man.””
Leslie, an actor and host says that she chose Hampton as means to get away from home, says she only applied to Hampton University. From freshman to senior year she went from the excited and socially involved student to the super focused and socially involved student. From theatre to running for Miss Hampton university her junior year, to taking advantage of the waterfront activities, he made sure her experience was one that she’s now delighted to talk about.
Leslie was a Business Management major who delved into theater her entire college career, and is now an actress. Asked if she thought her career would be different if she went to another school, Leslie states that some of her greatest connections come from her Alma Mater, and that it has affected her immensely.
Leslie understands the importance of giving back financially to the college community, but believes that there’s so much more to it. “It’s terrible for these kids, you don’t even have an opportunity to survive with a $100,000 loan and these payments are $500 a month and you don’t even have a job yet.”
Javicia states “If anything, instead of just giving back, how about giving opportunities, how about being that graduate that goes back to your university and gives jobs to me that’s more important. I can’t give anything back if I don’t have anything to give back. But if I can get a job then I can be able to take care of myself, and from there I can take care of what fed me, and take care of what bred me.”
According to Leslie, HBCUs provide students with a chance to do three things, “ connect with your people, love the hell out of yourself, and see your people succeed and flourish in abundance.
Both Javicia and Courtney take pride in their HBCU education, and are extremely honored to be alumni of their institutions.