SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (MAY 22, 2023) — The Recording Academy®‘s Black Music Collective (BMC) and Amazon Music selected Joseph Michael Abiakam (Norfolk State University), Langston Jackson (Hampton University), Kennedi Amari Johnson (Clark Atlanta University), Courtney Roberts (Texas Southern University), and Caleb Wilkerson (Florida A&M University), as the recipients of the “Your Future Is Now” scholarship, aimed for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with the opportunity to learn and explore all facets of the music industry.
The returning scholarship, first launched in February 2021, offers students the chance to receive $10,000 for the 2023/2024 school year and the opportunity to be part of an immersive rotation program with Amazon Music and Recording Academy department leads, providing each student a detailed look at their particular field of work within the music industry. To coincide with these scholarships, the BMC and Amazon Music will also award two HBCUs a $10,000 grant each for equipment for their music programs to be announced later this summer.
This diverse group of students represents five schools, across various stages and areas of focus in their higher education journey. Abiakam is a graduate student at Norfolk State University, interested in piano performance and music production; Jackson is a sophomore at Hampton University, interested in music marketing and audio production; Johnson is a sophomore at Clark Atlanta University, interested in A&R and marketing; Roberts is a freshman at Texas Southern University, interested in A&R and marketing; and Wilkerson is a junior at Florida A&M University, interested in music marketing.
In addition, as part of “Your Future Is Now,” Amazon Music, The Same House and the Recording Academy are coming together to host the “Your Future is Now” Business Development Seminar for select members of the 2023 graduating class of Morris Brown College. Revealed this past weekend at Morris Brown’s commencement by the Recording Academy’s Chief DEI Officer, Zing Shaw, this new, half-day music business seminar taking place on June 17 will offer professional development expertise in music business, publishing and music production. Facilitators at the event will include Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter President Justin Henderson and Frankie Yaptinchay of Amazon Music.
Following the music business seminar, graduates will be treated to a suite experience at State Farm Arena for the annual ATL Birthday Bash Concert where they will have the opportunity to network with representatives from the Recording Academy and Amazon Music, as well as other key music industry executives.