NEW YORK, October 20, 2008 – TAG Records, the groundbreaking music label recently formed by Procter & Gamble’s TAG brand and Island Def Jam, recently joined forces with the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) to name five recipients of the first ever TAG Make History National Grants Program. With help from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) and a panel of celebrity judges including hip-hop stars Russell Simmons, Ne-Yo, Yo-Yo, Grammy-award winners MC Lyte and Chili and TAG Records first artist, Q, TAG Records honored individuals who have made their mark bettering society.”
“The TAG Records mission is dedicated to mentoring and propelling urban youth through hip hop,” stated Adam Weber, brand manager for P&G. “The goal of TAG’s Make History National Grants Program is to recognize the extraordinary strides being taken by select urban students, and we’re very proud to partner with HSAN and NAFEO to provide them with tools to broaden their remarkable contributions.”
After a nationwide search scouring more than 100 college campuses, the chosen student winners each received a $10,000 grant for their exceptional progress in a cross-section of fields ranging from science to the arts.
“As a result of Procter & Gamble’s outstanding corporate leadership, an effective and productive alliance was developed with Island Def- Jam, one of the world’s leading recording labels and with help from hip-hop icon Jermaine Dupri, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education,” emphasized Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of HSAN. “Through this partnership we can honor what hip hop is all about and bestow valuable grants to the five most deserving college student leaders who are making history.”
A high-profile judging event took place October 17, 2008 at Clark Atlanta University, where top students from historically black colleges and universities were present. TAG’s Make History National Grants Program winners included:
Blair Alexander Jr. (Morehouse College of Atlanta, Ga.):
For his groundbreaking research in microbiology pertaining to why humans have become resistant to antibiotics, and how to reverse this trend. Alexander will continue to make history as a premier researcher for antibiotics addressing diseases of African Americans and all races relating.
Paul Dickens (Howard University of Washington, D.C.):
First year medical student who has created health and environmental, youth-oriented programming using original hip-hop DVD’s to encourage young people to maintain healthy lives and promoting professions related to this lifestyle.
Chevonne James (Bowie State University of Bowie, Md.):
For her creation and operation of the “Pick A Meal” pilot Program, a program that enables the less fortunate to receive gift cards or “meal vouchers” and allows them to “pick-a-meal” at participating restaurants. This program also provides nutritional supplement bars, mini sanitary kits and bottled water to promote health and hygiene to the public.
Jamel Vanderburg (Wilberforce University of Wilberforce, Oh):
Vanderburg is the 21-year-old founder and CEO of start-up marketing and accounting firm, A & M Financial Services, Inc. This firm assists college students who want to start their own businesses to achieve their dreams, and also focuses on event planning and consulting.
Kiera Thomas (Kentucky State University of Frankfort, Ky.):
Thomas is an award-winning singer and songwriter. She has received this grant for her development and funding of the Kentucky State Show Choir, program committed to team spirit through the finest forms of contemporary vocal music and choreography.
These outstanding students were handpicked from applicants across the country and will use grant funds to continue to develop their projects.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/ CEO of HSAN emphasized, “Because of Proctor & Gamble’s outstanding corporate leadership, an effective and productive synthesis developed with Island Def- Jam, one of the world’s leading recording labels, hip-hop icon Jermaine Dupri, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. The result of this partnership is the opportunity to award valuable cash grants to the five most deserving college student leaders who are making history now. This is what hip-hop is all about, it is about empowerment and we are very grateful for this unique partnership that has produced such great success.”
“This year’s TAG Make History National Grant winners are making history in unique and impressive ways,” declared Dr. Lezli Baskerville, President and CEO of NAFEO. “They are a small but shining example of the breadth and scope of phenomenal, talented students that we have on all of the nation’s diverse, 103 HBCU campuses, and on the 75 PBI campuses”
Hip-Hop mogul and philanthropist, Russell Simmons said, “I want to thank Proctor and Gamble and the TAG team for their innovative way of marketing- they make it cause related and create a budget to inspire and lift people up. It’s a good seed, good for all of us.”
Hip-Hop icon MC Lyte declared, “TAG is a company that is ready to take a stand- a company ready to commit not just to music, but also to academics- that its cool to be in school!”