This past year many historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) saw a significant increase in enrollment. According to PBS News Hour, “applications are up nearly 30% at many of these schools and top-tier HBCUs are increasingly becoming the first choice for some of the most sought-after students.” In the fall, Virginia State University welcomed its largest group of students in more than three decades, and enrollment at Morehouse College went up over 60% in 2020 from the previous year.
It’s no doubt that HBCU enrollment and visibility have been on the rise as many students of color are looking for a safe space to go to college, which HBCUs provide. Children of celebrities are no different, and many have chosen to attend HBCUs. Because of their parents, they probably have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to college, so their choice to attend an HBCU is significant. Not only does this give the universities good exposure, but it also sends a message that one can get the same quality education at an HBCU as at other schools. In turn, helps with enrollment as well.
Here are 12 celebrity children who have gone to an HBCU!
1. Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Spelman College
The daughter of superstars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt entered Spelman as a freshman in the fall of 2022. Her mom first shared the news on Instagram, sharing a photo of Zahara and other students with the caption: “Zahara with her Spelman sisters! Congratulations to all new students starting this year. A very special place and an honor to have a family member as a new Spelman girl.” Jolie also kept a low profile while joining her daughter during homecoming back in October.
2. Omoye Assata Lynn, Howard University
The daughter of rapper and actor Common, Omoye graduated from Howard University’s law program in May. Common was a proud dad posting a montage of the momentous occasion to Instagram with the caption: “There are no words to describe how proud I am! Finishing Law School at Howard University in the 3 years is pretty AMAZING! Congrats to my daughter and all the graduates of 2022. Now go out in the world and be great!”
3. Shaqir O’Neal, Texas Southern University
The youngest son of NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and ex-wife Shaunie Henderson committed to play Division 1 basketball at Texas Southern University in May 2021. Going to an HBCU was an intentional choice for Shaqir as he wanted to bring more awareness to them. “I want to change the narrative and culture and do something new,” he said.
4. D’essense Smiley, Tennessee State University
Comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley’s daughter D’essense graduated from Tennessee State University with a Communications degree in May 2021. Smiley posted of video of him cheering for his daughter on graduation day, with the caption: “My daughter D’essense aka RootyPooh graduated from Tennessee State University today!!!!!! Proud Dad!!!!!!!”
5. Krista Campbell, Spelman College
The daughter of Gospel music superstars Warryn and Erica Campbell, Krista entered Spelman College in the fall of 2022. In August, Warryn and Erica along with their two younger children drove from California to Atlanta to move their daughter in. Erica posted a video documenting the move, saying “I’m so proud and nervous.. God I’m gonna miss my girl, my singer my firstborn the BG (big girl).”
6. Trillian Wood-Smith, Lincoln University
Trillian (to the far left), the youngest son of rapper Busta Rhymes attends Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. He graduated high school in 2019 and posted a picture on Instagram with the caption, “Lincoln University of PA, see you soon..” His dad was very proud of him and also congratulated him on Instagram, saying, “Another young King of mine, off to begin the next chapter.” The proud dad wrote added “The World is Yours young King. #LincolnUniversity.”
7. Skyler Jordan, Alcorn State University
The son of singer Montell Jordan, Skyler accepted a football scholarship to Alcorn State University in 2021. He plays cornerback and was the first football player from his high school to sign with an NCAA Division I football team, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. On signing day, Skyler tweeted that he “can’t wait to rep #HBCU legacy and play in the #SWAC.”
8. Karma Bridges, Spelman College
The eldest daughter of rapper and actor Ludacris, Karma attends Spelman College. Back in 2020, she shared her excitement on Instagram posting pictures of herself with a Spelman shirt and balloons bearing the school colors and thanking everyone who helped her on her journey. “All of the Spelmanites in my life are screaming with joy!” she captioned the photo. “I am proud to announce that I will be attending the illustrious Spelman College and I am blessed to continue in the legacy of my mother.” Karma also serves as the inspiration for Ludacris’ animated children’s show, “Karma’s World.”
9. Destin Tucker, Morehouse College
Comedian and actor Chris Tucker’s son, Destin graduated from Morehouse College in 2021. Destin earned his degree in Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies, and is a proud Morehouse man. “It has truly been a blessing to attend the historic Morehouse College. Over these past 4 years, I have absorbed valuable life lessons about navigating through this world as a black man,” he shared in an Instagram post.
10. Taylor Ayanna Crawford, Howard University
The daughter of gospel singer Yolanda Adams graduated from Howard University in 2022. She graduated magna cum laude from The Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts and is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She’s expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and break into the entertainment industry as she captioned her graduation photos “From Howard to Hollywood” on Instagram.
11. Brittany Atkins, Hampton University
Brittany, the daughter of rapper Ja Rule graduated from Hampton University in 2018. She entered Hampton in 2013 as a Strategic Communications major, she now works as a screenwriter and continues to rep her alma mater.
12. Nathan Anderson, Howard University
Nathan, the son of actor Anthony Anderson is a Howard graduate. His acceptance into the school inspired his father to finish his degree, which he started 30 years ago. Nathan is now following in his father’s footsteps and getting into acting. You can catch him on the new Bounce Original Series Act Your Age.