Amanda Seales: Our HBCU Advocate

Comedian, actress, writer, producer, and more, Amanda Seales doesn’t just make you laugh, she makes a change!

With an uncanny knack for taking serious topics (racism, rape culture, sexism, police brutality, etc.) and with humor, making them relatable and interesting, she combines intellectual wit, silliness, and a pop culture obsession to create her unique style of smart funny content for the stage and screens.

Amanda Seales is a comedian and creative visionary, seamlessly blending humor and intellect, her unique style of smart funny content spans various genres across the entertainment and multi-media landscape. 

Moreover, Seales has been a consistent advocate for Black voices and institutions, — such as HBCUs. As we reflect on Amanda’s Club Shay Shay’s interview last week, we look back on 5 times Seales stepped for HBCUs.

Amanda Speaks On Race, Identity, & Politics At Xavier University

In 2018, Amanda spoke at Xavier University of Louisiana. Her students, who doubled as fans, laughed, cried, and yelled, “Preach, Amanda.” Seales is a comedian, actress, writer, and producer. But when she stood in front of a room full of students in Xavier’s University Center Ballroom on Wednesday, she became a teacher. 

After leading an impromptu rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing and encouraging students to be vocal and fearless, she talked a little about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Seales said that Xavier and all HBCUs should be an open space to discuss difficult issues, such as police brutality, that affect African Americans. She added that the first place to initiate change is on campus by helping others.

“Everybody in here agrees that police brutality is out of hand,” she said. “So when Kap takes a knee and you see folks that still want to watch the NFL and still kind of want to ignore the power in that.”

Amanda Becomes Ambassador For UNCF’s ‘HBCU Bound’ Initiative

In May 2022, The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) launched their month-long initiative titled “HBCU Bound,” in celebration of high school graduates heading to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Seales was among the digital ambassadors recruited to help push the message.

“HBCU Bound” is a nationwide student advocacy and recruitment initiative in collaboration with UNCF’s National Alumni Council (NAC) to support students committing to attend HBCUs including UNCF’s 37 member institutions. The widely celebrated campaign has partnered with several visionary Black luminaries and change agents advocating for equitable education and utilizing their platforms to advance educational enrichment.

Amanda On ‘The HBCU That Never Came To Life’

In January 2024, Amanda had Kimberly Renee guest star on her show to discuss the hidden history of the HBCU that never came to live in New Haven.

In 1831, New Haven’s white community leaders overwhelmingly rejected a serious proposal to found what would have been the first U.S. Black college, on the land where the interchange of I‑95 and I‑91 now exists.

Amanda frequently highlights HBCUs in various segments on her show via hidden history and HBCU Trivia.

Amanda On The Potential Closure of Three HBCUs

In February 2024, a new bill was introduced in the Mississippi State Legislature that could’ve led to the closure of three HBCUs: Mississippi Valley State UniversityAlcorn State University, and Jackson State University by June 2028. According to Senate Bill 2726 proposal, the State Institutions of Higher Learning would’ve been required to select three out of eight public universities by June 2025, with closure mandated by 2028.

During an episode on her podcast show, Seales discussed the potential impact the closure would have on Black kids in Mississippi seeking a higher education.

“I understand why HBCUs believe their schools could be on the chopping block,” Seales said at the time. “When we look at the nation’s efforts right now to silence Black voices, to roll things back in terms of equity, inclusion, and diversity it doesn’t seem like a far-fetched mission of them to try and limit the ability for Black folks in Mississippi to get a higher education.”

Amanda On The Supreme Court & Increased HBCU Enrollment

After many HBCUs witnessed a rise in admissions following last year’s decision by The Supreme Court to eliminate race from the admissions process, many questioned whether the rise could be specifically attributed to The Supreme Court decision or whether other factors were at play.

Amanda delved into the topic during an episode on her show.

“This is a testament to what happens when HBCUs are supported…”and just imagine what it would look like if HBCUs took over the academic landscape…”It’s time for us to wake up and smell the excellence brewing in our HBCUs, it’s our brilliance, it’s our legacy, it’s our power.”

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