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The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register


Jaydn James

The innovative, unscripted series, “The Shop UNINTERRUPTED”, by Lebron James and Maverick Carter’s digital media company, Springhill, facilitated a conversation with the next generation of Black innovators Thursday in Harrison Auditorium. 

The evening began with an activation on the Village Quad which featured interactive elements to foster connections among students, alumni and Aggie Fans. Sponsors AT&T, Taco Bell, Toyota and TWIX had many activities and giveaways to make homecoming even more special.

A&T’s very own Michael “Juss Mikey” Bivens was the host of the event, and got the crowd going with giveaways to start.

The celebrity panelists for “The Shop” live taping included actor Aldis Hogde, who is best known for his roles as MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton; Ibtihaj Muhammad, a member of the U.S. fencing team, who was the first American to wear a hijab in an Olympic competition and Darren Brand, an Aggie alum who starred in Wild N’ Out. Brand graduated from A&T in 2007.

To begin the discussion, Carter and Paul Rivera, co-host of the series, had the celebrity panelists reflect on their experiences in college and what homecoming looks like for them.

“One thing you can’t help but notice is the generations that come back to their respective colleges post-grad,” Rivera said. You just don’t see that at a PWI (Predominately White Institution). What does creating that legacy mean to you all?” 

For comedy star Darren Brand, it has become personal as he has started his own family and hopes his son will follow and build on his legacy.

“Homecoming saved my life. I came from a broken home, so coming to A&T was the first time I felt like I had a family. The legacy starts now with my son,” Brand expressed.

Following this question, the conversation shifted towards what the journey of success has looked like for each of them.

Hodge expressed that “the industry chose me before I could choose it” making sure the audience understood that while his rise to fame has been a dynamic one, it was one that he was not all prepared for originally.

In a generation consumed with how much money they can make, but not understanding the full scope of the change they can create,  Carter proclaimed the concept that “all success affords you is the opportunity to do it again.”

Muhammed stated that “The journey was bigger than me. Whatever is meant for me, isn’t going to miss me.

Both the hosts and panelists agreed on how much it counts to be grateful for where they started, so that when success comes, humbling yourself becomes easy.

“If you appreciate the present a little more now, you’ll be glad for what you get in the future, Getting no’s is a part of the journey” Brand said.

To finish off the discussion, the panelists were asked how they would encourage students to find their passion.

Being in the business of comedy, for Brand, it is simple.

“I wake up and have a passion for making people laugh everyday. Not having a passion is pointless, so start now. Be consistent. Be current,” Brand said.

Muhammed understands that not all have that understanding of what their passion is yet, but she had one message for students.

“I knew that I had unfinished business within the sport,” Muhammed said. “There was a calling for me, so I encourage you to invest in yourself and seek out that calling.”

Hodge made clear that the journey is not always easy, but the desire to seek within is.

“Learn to love yourself,” Hodge expressed. “Struggle is going ot be there regardless, but do not lose yourself to it.”

From movies, to films, to gold medals. The discussion of what inspired these industry makers to maintain the faith, hope and drive to succeed was the essence of the evening. The recorded show is set to air on YouTube Dec. 6.

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