The surprise left the young leaders speechless during an NAACP panel surrounding the Black student debt crisis at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington D.C.
According to WJLA, the recipients are Damarius Davis, an alumnus of North Carolina A&T; Channing Hill, a senior at Howard University; Robyn Hughes, a junior at Southern University; Jamie Turner, an alumnus of Norfolk State University; and Devan Vilfrard, a senior at Florida A&M University.
— Jonah Bryson (@JonahLBryson) June 17, 2022
“Pharrell forever changed their lives. This was a powerful moment. Now just imagine if President Biden made this a reality for all student debt holders in America,” said the panel organizer Wisdom Cole, NAACP National Director of Youth and College.
He continued, “Student debt continues to disproportionately plague the Black community and crush opportunities for so many Black people. It is time to reduce the racial wealth gap, it is time for President Biden to fulfill his promise.”
Right after @Pharrell surprised young NAACP leaders by paying off ALL their student debt, someone asked “what are you going to do now?”
One student tearfully responded, “I’m going to law school.”
This is what it’s about—unlocking opportunities for those historically oppressed.
— Derrick Johnson (@DerrickNAACP) June 17, 2022
The Biden administration issued another extension on the pause for student loan repayment at the beginning of April, the most recent extension deadline on Aug. 31, 2022; meaning billing will restart in September.
While the president has established he will not cancel $50,000 of student loans, he is expected to come to a resolution around loan forgiveness by the end of summer.
“I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction,” Biden said in April. “But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there are going to — there will be additional debt forgiveness, and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”
Pharrell’s Something In the Water Festival started just hours after the NAACP panel there in D.C. and is set to come to a close tonight. The Juneteenth weekend festival made its return after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, featuring Anderson .Paak, SZA, Usher, Tyler, the Creator, and Pusha-T, among others.