In 1837, the saga of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) began a sturdy foundation that arguably built the African American community.

HBCUs yield more than a quarter of all African-American graduates in the country. In the 2017-2018 academic school year, 48,300 degrees were conferred by HBCUs. Every 365 days, nearly fifty thousand young minds complete a life changing cultural experience known as the HBCU-experience. After this educational rite of passage, graduates have the tools, knowledge, experience and network to accomplish their dreams and change the world. Many civil rights leaders, doctors, religious leaders, bankers, writers, Olympians, lawyers, musicians, engineers, actors, humanitarians, professional athletes, educators, scientists, and politicians that are woven into the advancement of The United States of America and beyond hail from Black colleges. Right now, more than ever, we need these leaders.

For the sixth year in a row, we recognize the significant achievement of alumni from these prestigious powerhouses. Various industries of former Top 30ers include sports, STEM, entertainment, media, business, public service and fashion. Check out the former classes here. From the youngest person to ever make the list, Clark Atlanta University’s Kahlil Darden at 19-years-old, to international superstar, Lil Yachty, this year’s top 30 is a diverse group of Black excellence. Congratulations to the 2020 HBCU Top 30 Under 30 Class.

2Miles “Lil Yachty” McCollum

HBCU Top 30 Under 30 2020 By HBCU Buzz view the full list

Miles Parks McCollum, professionally known as Lil Yachty, is not your average rapper, singer or songwriter. McCollum is very forward about not rapping about drinking or doing drugs. The Atlanta, GA native made his debut in 2014 and since that time, he’s dropped 4 studio albums, with another scheduled to debut August 2020. McCollum attended Alabama State University in 2015 before his musical career catapulted.

When he isn’t in the studio or onstage, the red-haired millennial spends his time sailing, designing and modeling. The trending artist pioneers his own lane, infusing his music with purpose and history, with songs like “Oprah’s Bank Account,” which pays homage to the media mogul’s wealth. With lyrics like “I don’t even drink liquor,” and “They call me Lil Boat-Hollywood chilling, but I don’t do coke-I stayed afloat,” this young artist is is a bold alternative to the typical stereotype of gang-banging and drug-dealing rappers.

The 22-year-old is associated with Motown, Capitol Records, Quality Control Music and Capitol Music Group. McCollum has a number of hit singles including “Broccoli” and “iSpy.” The young artist was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Collaboration, he was nominated for an iHeart Music Video Award for Best New International Artist and he was nominated for a MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video for his single “iSpy.”