Essence magazine partnered with Pepsi on Saturday to host the second annual “She Got Now” initiative and first virtual homecoming celebration for historically Black colleges and universities. The program highlights Black women who attend HBCUs and alumnae who graduated from these prestigious universities and are making an impact in their communities.
This year’s event, held virtually due to COVID-19 precautions, was moderated by North Carolina A&T alum Terrence J. The showcase included a variety of honorees from different schools including FAMU, Hampton University, Jackson State University and Norfolk State University and others. The focus of the event was to showcase the honorees with an emphasis on how imperative having HBCUs is for the Black community.
Jade Fryer, an MBA candidate at FAMU, was nominated by a faculty member and was selected as a “She Got Now” honoree to represent Florida A&M in the event, along with alumna Natalie White.
“Being chosen as a 2020 ‘She Got Now’ honoree was really touching to me, because it’s me being seen for my accomplishments and things that I am part of, without me having to reach out for those accolades and being able to represent FAMU on such a large platform is really cool,” Fryer said.
Fryer is president of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. She also had the opportunity to be a marketing internwith Kao USA for over a year. While completing her internship she conducted market research to assist the introduction of a new brand, Wakati and was able to establish the brand’s social media following by increasing their following with over 2,000 accounts.
In addition to Fryer’s leadership roles, she has founded and operated her own business, Studio 4.12, since 2017. Studio 4.12 is a graphic design company and cultivates logos for brands and graphics needed for various companies and organizations.
Melissa St. Joy, Miss FAMU in 2000, is a founding member and current board member of Friends of FAM. The organization awards high achieving FAMU students who reside in the metro Atlanta area with funds to help them excel and flourish at the university. Fryer was awarded the scholarship in 2018 for her academic success. Friends of FAM is run and operated by FAMU alumni who strive to give back to the university.
“I was very proud of Jade when I realized she was chosen as an honoree. However, I was not surprised. The first day I met Jade, I knew she would be a woman who would make an impact on this world for the better,” St. Joy said.
St. Joy explained how her own experience at FAMU has molded her to be the best version of herself.
“At FAMU you truly are among the best, so there’s a constant push to be better. When you get into the ‘real world’ your bar is so high that some may label you as an overachiever,” St. Joy said.
As the award show progressed each honoree was given the opportunity to speak and express how attending an HBCU has been key in helping them progress into influential leaders in all aspects.
“From starting as a freshman in SBI they teach us so much about professionalism and public speaking. I have learned so much from then to now and I have been able to grow to take on leadership positions that I probably never would have applied for,” Fryer said.
According to Affordable Colleges Online, HBCUs produce 25 percent of all the African American graduates with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees and HBCUs produce 23 percent of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees.
In an interview with Essence, Derek Lewis, president of the south division of PepsiCo Beverages in South America, said, “We are honored to partner with Essence again to bring back ‘She Got Now’ during homecoming season, which is such a crucial moment culturally and socially for HBCU alums and students.”
The event featured appearances from cultural icons including Monica, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Jonathan McReynolds and Doug E Fresh.