Priceless. The moment 5 young NAACP leaders learn @Pharrell is cancelling all their student debt.@POTUS, it’s your turn now to do the same for all Americans plagued by student debt. pic.twitter.com/hAQWh0wW0a— Derrick Johnson (@DerrickNAACP) June 17, 2022
The “Happy” artist paid off five young NAACP leaders’ college debt: Robyn Hughes of Southern University, Damarius Davis of North Carolina A&T, Jamie Turner of Norfolk State, Channing Hill of Howard and Devan Vilfrard of Florida A&M.
— NAACP (@NAACP) June 17, 2022
Wisdom Cole, National Director of Youth and College for the NAACP, spoke positively of the move, saying, “Pharrell forever changed their lives. This was a powerful moment.”
He continued, imploring Joe Biden to take notes and do his part by clearing student loan debt for everyone.
“Now, just imagine if President Biden made this a reality for all student debt holders in America. Student debt continues to disproportionately plague the Black community and crush opportunities for so many Black people,” he said. “It is time to reduce the racial wealth gap; it is time for President Biden to fulfill his promise.”
This exciting news was announced during a recent panel on the Black student debt crisis in Washington, D.C.
The NAACP-affiliated panel was a part of Pharrell’s SITW festival. You can check out some photos down below.
It’s also worth noting that many of the recipients shared their immense gratitude via social media.
PHARRELL AND NAACP JUST PAID ALL MY STUDENT LOAN DEBT.
I AM DEBT FREE
— BLM. (@Chan_the_world) June 17, 2022
Pharrell just paid off my student debt!! I’m crying! This is surreal!!!
— Aint Nobody Coming To See You Otis (@zoraslovechild) June 17, 2022
I still can’t believe @Pharrell is paying off my student loans. Just an example of how genuine, hard work really does pay off in the end 🙏🏾. Thank you @Pharrell @sitw & @NAACP pic.twitter.com/gqitD6qrLA
— Devan M. Vilfrard ✊🏾🇭🇹 (@ThoughtsFromDev) June 18, 2022
Norfolk State alumna Jamie Turner further detailed the joyous experience on LinkedIn.
“I couldn’t even believe it. I had to ask if I was being punk’d and was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out. Thank you to Pharrell Williams for wanting to give back to HBCUs and recognizing the racial barriers we face while in school and once we graduate,” she wrote.
Turned also shared what the future holds for her now that she is debt-free.
“Now, I can pursue other things and my passions. When asked what I will do next, I replied (bawling my eyes out), ‘I’m going to law school.’ I’m also going to fulfill my dream of being the next Toni Morrison (Stay tuned),” she added.
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
Shoutout to Pharrell Williams for financing this game-changing gift!