If there's one thing a Howard University graduate will do, it's give back to their alma mater. In recent memory, one of the most successful Howard University Bison has been actress Ashley Blaine Featherson. The actress has starred in Lena Waithe's Hello Cupid, the Dear White People feature film and the Netflix series that followed. Now, she is reflecting on her rise to fame and looking to give back to the school that helped propel her success.
The former Hilltop student has donated $25,000 to support students at the historically Black university. The Ashley Blaine Featherson Early Career Grant will help support seniors interested in pursuing a full-time career in acting. Chosen by the chair of the theater arts department and members of the faculty, the grant will help matriculating students relocate for acting work as they pursue their dreams.
“This gift from Ashley means so much, not only because she is a young alumna who is giving such a substantial gift, but rather because she has utilized her skills developed here at Howard to make it in Hollywood, only to give back to the institution,” Howard University Alumni Relations Director Sharon Strange Lewis said.
“Only 15.6% of alumni who have graduated since 2009 have ever given to Howard. We hope that this gift will inspire other young alumni to give back and pay it forward for the next generation of Bison leaders.”
Over the years, Howard has produced a bevy of talented entertainers. Taraji P. Henson, Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Anderson and several others have stepped foot on the yard. The university's most recognizable face at the moment is Chadwick Boseman. Boseman famously told the story of how his career was launched by a generous gift from Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington.
“In reflection of my own path to this point in my acting career, I wish I had more financial support. I was fortunate to be able to extend an uplifting hand back to support Bison pursuing their dreams of acting post-graduation with this gift,” the Netflix star said.
Maybe her gift can launch the career of the next Chadwick Boseman.