Pharrell just changed five lives.
The multi-hyphenate and his Something In the Water Festival have canceled the student debt of five young Black leaders. The generous move was announced Friday at the St. Regis hotel in Washington, D.C., where the NAACP was hosting a panel on the Black student debt crisis. The event was organized by Wisdom Cole, the organization’s national director of youth and college.
“Pharrell forever changed their lives. This was a powerful moment,” Cole told WJLA. “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. It is time to reduce the racial wealth gap, it is time for President Biden to fulfill his promise.”
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.”
According to WJLA, the recipients of the debt relief are Robyn Hughes, a junior at Southern University; Damarius Davis, an alumnus of North Carolina A&T Jamie Turner, an alumnus of Norfolk State University; Channing Hill, a senior at Howard University; and Devan Vilfrard, a senior at Florida A&M University.
You can watch their emotional reactions to the news below.
The Biden administration extended the pause on student loan repayment earlier this year, and is expected to announce a decision on loan forgiveness sometime this summer. The president previously confirmed he would not cancel $50,000 of student loans, which many have demanded; however, he told the nation he’s considering some form of debt reduction.
“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 kicked off Friday in D.C., and will conclude on Sunday. The performers include Tyler, the Creator; Pusha-T; Lil Uzi Vert; Justin Timberlake; SZA; Clipse, and Anderson .Paak.