Too often, as Black scholars advance through academia, the number of people who look like them in their classes decrease.
So said Anthony Wright and Brian Allen, two black postgrads who began a social movement using the hashtag #BlackAndHooded to inspire black students through their academic journey.
A lack of black enrollment in higher education can discourage younger black students from applying to graduate school or even undergrad programs. Wright, who got his degree at Indiana University, revealed to HuffPost Black Voices that the lack of representation “almost deterred me from applying at all.”
This is why #BlackandHooded is so important: the hashtag tracks black students who have completed graduate and undergraduate programs, opening up a community of pride, support, and not least of all: representation.
I believe #BlackAndHooded displays the infinite possibilities of black excellence and shows that Black people around this nation are doing amazing things.
– Brian Allen
Not only has #BlackAndHooded built a community of inspiring black students and graduates, but it’s also reclaiming the negative stereotypes associated with black people wearing hoodies. Unlike the stereotype, the symbolic hoods of these graduate capes are a sign of success; of #BlackExcellence.
With the huge success of #BlackAndHooded, Wright and Allen decided to create a website as a means to host the entire collection. As a hashtag grows, older posts can get lost under the new ones. By comparison, a website is able to showcase all of its submissions much more simultaneously — and this is exactly Wright and Allen’s motivation.
The website features pages of photo submissions, a “Grads of the Week” section, and a “Network” tab in which users can survey the number of students, universities, hometowns and types of degrees attributed to the collection of students featured on the website.