Russell Westbrook, an NBA All-Star and the creative director of his clothing brand Honor the Gift is helping empower aspiring designers. On Thursday, he marked the occasion by unveiling a new lounge with PepsiCo at Pensole Lewis College, the first and only HBCU dedicated to design.
Two students, Rodney Banks and Angel Buckens, designed the space after participating in the inaugural PepsiCo Design & Innovation program. Thursday kicked off the university’s fourth edition of the National Black Footwear Forum.
“All students deserve to feel seen and heard and to have their creative work valued,” Westbrook told Blavity in an exclusive statement. “Programs like this one with PepsiCo Design & Innovation and Pensole Lewis create opportunities like that for students. It’s an honor to be part of something that is giving the next generation of Black creatives the confidence and encouragement to continue their creative journeys.”
PepsiCo has also made a $25,000 donation to Diversity in Design, a nonprofit organization supporting Black creatives. It will provide 250 Detroit high school students with hands-on experience and knowledge of the design industry.
There was also a skill-building workshop hosted at Pensole Lewis College, welcoming around 20 students from seven high schools and organizations in Detroit.