University Of The Virgin Islands Becomes First HBCU With Free Tuition Option

The institution is making strides when it comes to providing education for all. 

The journey to free higher learning hit a new stride this month after it was announced the University of The Virgin Islands will provide free tuition to students, making it the first historically black institution to do so.

The Virgin Islands Daily News reports the program stems from Act 8155, titled The Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship. Signed into law by Gov. Kenneth Mapp, the program was introduced by Lieutenant Governor and Sen. Tregenza Roach. The act was inspired by the need to increase retention to UVI, who suffered greatly after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The small university hosts 1,275 undergraduate students with popular programs for Business, Nursing, and Police and Criminal Science. Stipulations for the free program include a 2.5 GPA from residents of V.I. who graduated from a private, public or parochial high school. FAFSA applications must be filled out before March 1 to be considered. Applicants also have to take part in community service projects within seven years of graduating. The projects have to include a timeline of two months to three years.

Speaking to reporters, Sen Roach shared how free tuition will provide a future to many young people on the island.

"It's an exciting time for Virgin Island students and it's an exciting time for the university," Sen. Roach said. "[During Hurricane Maria] we saw students challenged economically who would return for one semester and not come back, maybe two semesters and not come back. I'm grateful to Gov. Mapp because he identified funding, the idea was preempted, it was before the legislation and so we fused the financial component of his bill to mine."

"I want to say to people look at these things not in a vacuum but in the bigger picture. The bigger picture includes looking at our university and what it offers and how we're going to ensure that the labor needs of the territory are met, that we create meaningful education and employment opportunities for our young people."

Blavity reports university president Dr. David Hall was also in favor of the new law.

“A college degree is no longer a luxury that the rich and the academically and athletically gifted individuals can obtain,” he said. “Higher education is a basic necessity and must be provided in the same way we provide other basic necessities.”

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Another One: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Presidential Run

After months of speculation, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders officially announced his second Presidential run.

According to CNN, Sanders, 77, made his official bid known in an interview with Vermont Public Radio, and affirmed his 2020 run in a statement to supporters shortly after.

"I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least a million people from across the country," he said in the statement.

Sanders won the support of many Americans with his progressive policy agenda, which includes free higher education and health care expansion. He's also reportedly planning to "[transform] the country" with a campaign based upon foundational principles of "economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

In an email sent out to supporters Tuesday (Feb. 19) announcing his run, Sanders called out Donald Trump, stating that he is "a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction."

“Women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native born and immigrant," he continued in his email. "Now is the time for us to stand together.”

Continue Reading
Karl Lagerfeld and Pharrell Williams greet each other at Paris Fashion Week's Winter 2017/2018 show.
Getty Images

Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director Of Chanel And Fendi, Dead At 85

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of luxury brands Chanel and Fendi, has died. He was 85 years old, and the news was confirmed by Chanel.

Per The New York Times, while other fashion directors chose to retire, Mr. Lagerfeld continued to work up until his death on Tuesday (Feb. 19) in Paris, designing "an average" of 14 new collections a year on his own, excluding collaborative projects.

"Mr. Lagerfeld never stopped creating," the Times writes of the tireless worker. "He was also a photographer, whose work was exhibited at the Pinacothèque de Paris; a publisher, having founded his own imprint for Steidl, Edition 7L; and the author of a popular 2002 diet book, 'The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,' about how he had lost 92 pounds."

Like many other luxury brands, Chanel and Fendi were loved by hip-hop figures such as Lil Kim, The Notorious B.I.G., Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Gucci Mane and more. The fashion houses were also mentioned in songs from artists such as "Still Dipset" by Jim Jones, "Chun-Li" by Nicki Minaj, "Chanel" by Frank Ocean, "She Bad" by Cardi B and many others.

"I was like a nerdy little black kid on a skateboard. So looking at high-end fashion was something that I really didn't understand in the very beginning," said Pharrell in 2017 of Chanel. The musician said that he was introduced to high-fashion through The Notorious B.I.G, and he was the first man to appear in a Chanel handbag campaign. Willow Smith was also named brand ambassador for Chanel in 2017.

Check out some choice Chanel and Fendi fits from hip-hop artists below. Rest in peace, Karl Lagerfeld.

Continue Reading
Don Cheadle as Mo in 'Black Monday,' Episode 4 ("295")
Erin Simkin/SHOWTIME

'Black Monday' Recap: Mo Feels The Weight Of Playing God

Another week, another dive into Black Monday. In this week's episode, “295,” Mo tries to salvage his plan to get the Georgina company’s shares after Blair and Tiffany Georgina’s surprise breakup in the previous episode threw a wrench in that plan. By the end of this week’s episode, Mo gets what he wants but it doesn’t go as planned. Don Cheadle told VIBE that Black Monday was “insane...in a good way,” and this episode shows just that, starting with Mo’s God complex.

Stop Trying To Be God

You need a certain cocktail of self-aggrandization and delusions of grandeur to walk around with a God complex. Mo has that cocktail coursing through his veins. The entire episode revolves around Mo’s attempt to control the actions of humans by placing them in certain situations he is sure will yield his desired results. Only someone blinded by their obsession with being right wouldn’t see having to fix a “foolproof” plan makes him a fool.

The writing expertly showed that when you play God your creation is your reflection, especially in the tense scene at Mo’s dining room table with Blair and Dawn. He turned Blair into a cocaine-addicted party animal to show him how empty life is without having someone you love. Then, in one scene, Dawn exposed how all Mo did was build Blair in his image without realizing that part of his plan was to inadvertently show Blair just how miserable Mo really lives.

Even ostensibly innocuous details carry a huge emotional weight thanks to Black Monday’s writing and Cheadle’s consistently engaging performance. The writers literally had Mo on the outside looking in at forces out of his control at the end of the episode when he’s looking into the bar. It’s at this climactic moment of the show that Mo realizes his own mortality by getting what he wants but missing out on what he knows he needs.

It’s also at this moment that the show’s most boring lead character grew into someone worth watching.

Blair Is Here

For the first three episodes, Blair was as interesting as paint on the wall; always in front of your face but in the back of your mind. Before a single character utters a word in this episode, Blair is chain-smoking cigarettes, snorting coke and dressed like a Saturday Night Fever extra. He died “for a song and a half” and was electroshocked back to life, all in the first minute of the new episode. Blair has finally joined the Black Monday party and the show is better for it.

Mo molding Blair into his image allowed Blair to tap into a new level of confidence.  Blair’s exchange with Dawn about the implicit racism and sexism in 1980s films like Teen Wolf was rewind-worthy hilarious and ends with Blair remarking, “My favorite line from the movie is, ‘I’m not a f*g, I’m a werewolf. Oh, Michael J,” easily one of the funniest 1980s critiques on a show full of them.

The episode also entangled Blair in the show’s first love triangle, ensuring that Blair’s character growth is probably not done. With Blair now being compelling, following Dawn and Keith’s character-defining performances in the previous episode, Black Monday has set up its four most accomplished actors to be able to carry entire story arcs without relying on each other. But, the Black Monday world got bigger than those four in this week’s episode.

The Wall Street Mythology

There’s not enough time in a 30-minute episode to flesh out every character’s backstory and fully formed personality. The most surprisingly funny part of episode “295” was the story arc of Jammer Group traders Keith and Yassir (Yassir Lester) trying to stop Wayne (Horatio Sanz) from completing a “The LaGuardia Spread”. The arc showed that Black Monday has an ingenious way of speeding up character development: mythologize Wall Street.

On Black Monday, “The LaGuardia Spread” is when a trader takes a huge position on a stock, goes to LaGuardia Airport and waits to see if they made a huge profit or debilitating loss. If you guess right, you come home. If you guess wrong, “you don’t come home ever. You get on a plane and you f**king disappear,” according to a frantic Keith. Wayne was nothing more than a bumbling joke punchline of a trader before this episode. In only a few minutes of screentime we find out Wayne slept with his wife’s sister, has some weird dislike for The Howard Stern Show’s weekly guest Jackie Martling, and is so money hungry that he’d be giddy at the news of a mad cows disease epidemic and it’s positive effect on his “LaGuardia Spread” trade.

A similar result happened before on Black Monday. In the series premiere, the Lehman twins (Ken Marino) laid out the Georgina Play, the foundation of Mo’s plans to get all the shares from the Georgina company from Blair after he marries Tiffany. That Wall Street myth led to their grandfather setting himself on fire. That myth also showed that at any moment any person you see on screen become valuable because of what they about know how this fictionalized world works. As long as Black Monday continues to use the inherent absurdity of Wall Street as a machine for character development, this show could begin entering the conversation for one of the best ensemble casts on television.

Continue Reading

Top Stories