HBCU Student Showcase: Kennedy Jennings
Jennings is a senior Public Relations major and African-American Studies minor at Howard University
Portrait Theme: HBCUs and Sports
Artist Kennedy Jennings was inspired by the duality of student-athletes at HBCUs. In her experience at Howard University, student-athletes are typically more students than they are athletes. As mentioned by alumni Vice President Kamala Harris, the star running back may also be a 4.0 computer engineering student. This duality can be explained by something that Black children hear often throughout their lives: you have to work twice as hard at all times. To this point, when the NBA contacted Jennings about creating this piece, she was experiencing the effects of the recent Houston snowstorm. Despite the situation, Jennings persevered and completed the artwork after relocating because her apartment didn’t have water.
Year/School: Senior/Howard University
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Link to portfolio:
Kennedy Jennings is a senior Public Relations major and African-American Studies minor at Howard University hailing from Houston, Texas. Before attending Howard University, Jennings had never stepped foot on the campus, yet was guided by her gut feeling that the grounds of the illustrious campus would water her roots and blossom her into the flower she is meant to be.
Throughout her three-year-matriculation at the university, Jennings has fully submerged herself in her campus culture by joining and contributing largely to organizations on campus. She is a former head of graphic design and member of Ladies of The Quad Social Club, Models of the Mecca, HER Campus Howard and Howard University Texas Club. She is also a member of Howard Chapter NAACP and National Association of Black Journalists. Outside of academics, she is a social media and content intern for Broccoli City Festival.
Jennings believes that the best part about going to a Historically Black University is being able to see the diversity of Black people across the diaspora. She enjoys gaining an understanding of fellow students’ cultures that are influenced by their hometowns and ethnic backgrounds. She also enjoys the academic realm of HBCUs that allows for students to fully engage with their professors due to the lack of code-switching and respectability politics rooted in anti-Blackness. Many professors have shaped her into the person she is today, such as Attorney Minor, Dr. Carr, Dr. Blackmon, Dr. Hogan, and Professor Bubb.
After graduation, she plans on returning to Houston to pursue either a master’s degree in digital communications or a Juris Doctor at Texas Southern University. She anticipates becoming either a celebrity publicist or an entertainment/civil rights attorney.
On the HBCU Student Showcase:
As part of NBA All-Star 2021, seven students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) created artwork depicting their experiences as HBCU students. The students selected themes representing HBCU student athletes, dance lines, bands and school legacies as inspiration for their creations. They also drew a connection to the impact of COVID-19 on HBCUs through their work.