Millennials in today’s era are pushing more for their voices to be heard, especially at historically Black colleges & universities (HBCU). Stephanie Tharpe, the founder of the Millennial Maverick Magazine, wants to give HBCU college students the opportunity to speak their truth.
“This program gives HBCU students an outlet to receive social news, entertainment, and digital content from their peers not just at their respective institution, but from a whole network of HBCU students who share similar social and cultural objectives or experiences.” Tharpe explained.
When Tharpe attended Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in the summer of 2011, she studied biology, but she said that she always wanted to be in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.
Tharpe’s parents believed that a science major suited her best. After a one-on-one conversation with her parents, she decided to pursue her dreams with being an entrepreneur. She left FAMU in 2015 to establish Millennial Maverick Magazine.
“I started this program because I noticed a need in HBCU culture that hasn’t quite been filled,” Tharpe said. “When I scrolled up and down my various timelines on my social platforms I would see all of this content geared for ‘Black millennials.’”
“When I would look at the parent companies and authors of some of these articles and videos I just couldn’t see how they could possibly know what we as Black millennials need and want.”
Frankie St. Louis, who is the co-founder of Millennial Maverick Magazine, explained the process to establish the magazine and the different strategies that were developed to run the magazine.
“Establishing Millennial Maverick Mag required a large amount of research on business structure, organization, and leadership,” St. Louis said. “The development of effective strategies which utilize mass communication platforms such as social media was also a necessary component of working towards establishing a magazine where students at all HBCU's would feel represented and included.”
The phrase “teamwork makes the dream work” is truly the concept Tharpe, St. Louis, and Jones live by.
Christopher Jones, who is the founder of Dapper Jones, works with Tharpe and St. Louis. Dapper Jones is a segment of the Millennial Maverick Magazine. Jones said that his focus is to help uplift Black males and the Black community.
“Having an all-male platform like “Dapper Jones” is essential to Millennial Maverick Magazine because it encourages a different type of dialogue between young Black men,” Jones said. “There are some issues and points of view that only Black men can truly relate to. Having a designated ‘safe space’ where we can open up and have more fruitful conversations and solutions is something that is not just in the best interest of college educated men, but the black community as a whole.”
Millennial Maverick Magazine is not only going to improve writing across the board, but most importantly give millennials a chance to impress themselves while matriculating through college.
“There are many media companies who are trying to cater to the “Black millennial audience,” but are not giving those students opportunities to tell their own stories,” Tharpe said. “This program gives HBCU students a platform created for them.”