Fly News: Howard University Opens Campus at Google

This week has been solidified as one of the best weeks ever! As if Google hasn’t been making monumental moves this year thus far with more focus on diversity, the famed company marks yet another accomplishment in their milestone.

Today, it has been officially announced that Howard University has now opened a campus at the Googleplex in Mountainview, California. Yes, you’ve read that correctly!

Bonita Stewart with Dr. Wayne Frederick at Googleplex in Mountain View, CA (credit: Google)

Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships spoke on the new partnership in a brief statement provided exclusively to SFPL:

When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex. “Howard West” is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)-and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to manifest a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what incredible innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science program can attend Howard West, a dedicated space at Google, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the computer science (CS) education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.

Through GIR we’ve learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between the Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”
– Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

This is amazing and it’s only just beginning!

Congrats to HU and Google!


Apollo Theater To Hold Amateur Night Auditions In New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC For 2017


The Apollo Theater announced today that it will hold auditions for its legendary Amateur Night show, now in its 82nd year, in multiple cities this Fall. Auditions will be held in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center on Saturday, September 17th, in New York City at the Apollo Theater on Saturday, September 24th and will conclude in Washington, D.C. at Howard University on Saturday, October 1st. Amateur Night producers will screen hundreds of vocalists, rappers, dancers, comedians, spoken word artists, and other performers vying for a coveted spot on the Apollo’s stage, where they will then compete for a chance to win the new grand prize amount of $20,000.

“The Apollo is driven by a commitment to explore all possibilities of contemporary artistic expression. One way to achieve this is by opening our Amateur Night 2017 auditions to a geographically-diverse pool of talent,” said Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater. “Amateur Night is not only a beloved live, weekly show but rather a greater catalyst renown for sparking the careers of so many legendary performers.”

“The Apollo is the world’s stage and, as such, we want to make sure the performers are equally world-class. By reaching out to talent in locations like Washington, DC, we ensure we are getting the best possible competitors. Long before American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and Star Search, the Apollo’s Amateur Night was, and continues to be, a primary source for discovering and spotlighting up-and-coming artists. We’re on a hunt for the best of the best,” said Amateur Night Producer and audition judge, Marion J. Caffey.

Since its inception in 1934, the Apollo Theater’s signature show, ‘Amateur Night,’ has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. ‘Amateur Night’ has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feel the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience responses can help make or break a career. Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill and Michael Jackson are just a few of the legendary performers who launched their careers on the Apollo stage.


Auditions for Amateur Night are as follows:

September 17th in Philadelphia (10am- 6pm)

Location: Kimmel Center

300 South Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102


September 24th in NYC (10am-6pm)

Location: Apollo Theater

253 West 125th Street

New York, NY 10027


October 1st in Washington, D.C. (10am- 6pm)

Location: Cramton Auditorium – Howard University

2455 6th St NW

Washington, DC 20059


*Important Note: For Amateur Night, only children ages 5 to 17 will be considered for the “Child Stars of Tomorrow” segment. For those competing in the adult category, you must be 18 years and older to compete in the adult category. Children under 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult. For a complete list of audition guidelines and rules, visit

For Amateur Night auditions, judges will only see the first 250 acts if time permits, so please arrive early. Amateur Night at the Apollo weekly performances are independent from the APOLLO LIVE and SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO taped events. 



  • An Amateur is anyone who has not had a recording, Film or TV contract with a major studio.
  • NO profanity, including any racial epithets or slurs all material must be appropriate for a family show.
  • Children under 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult.
  • Only children ages 5 to 17 will be considered for the “Child Star of Tomorrow” segment.
  • For those competing in the adult category, you must be 18 years and older.
  • No lip synching, singing along with track vocals or post-production engineering of vocals is permitted.
  • The audition is open to singers, dancers, comedians, spoken word artists and musicians and other variety performances.
  • Each live contestant will have up to 90 seconds to perform.
  • Singers can bring a track on cassette or CD or sing a cappella. A band is NOT available.
  • Musicians must bring their own instruments.
  • Dancers should bring a CD.
  • Do NOT bring CD’s in CD-RW format.
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Fly Performances: ‘Sunday Best All Stars’ & Howard University Alum Clifton Ross III Sings for SFPL TV


A Singer in his own right, a Howard University Grad, a Teacher of Music at Bryant Alternative School in Alexandria, Virginia, Clifton Ross III has been able to hold down the fork as one of the best talents to ever hit the main stage of BET‘s trending gospel show, Sunday Best.

Recently, competing on the 8th season hit reality competition show; All Stars Edition, the Detroit native made it through five of the elimination rounds and wowed the audience every single time. Although, he didn’t win but yet made it to the bitter end — it was still another milestone that the incomparable singer could check off his bucket list. Ross’ already has quite an extensive resume within the gospel industry, praised by veteran performers all across the gospel/christian genre. Being on show, not only elevated his brand but extended his catalogue of experience even more.

Clifton Ross now continues his music journey with his new single “I Believe God” and is currently working on a new album due out very soon.

Take a look below, as Ross stopped by SFPL TV to give us a full glimpse of the “powerhouse” that he is, up close and personal, while expressing his proclamation through song to the one above:

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Fly Lyric Video: Jae Murphy – “You Playin’ (This Could Be Us)” feat. The Game, Eric Bellinger & Problem

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Just after an exclusive release here at SFPL of Jae Murphy‘s “You Playin’ (This Could Be Us)”, the talented celebrity DJ and Artist is back with a dope Lyric Video to follow! As stated, the official track features; Eric Bellinger, The Game & Problem, produced by Jereme Jay. Check it out below…


Fly Music: Jae Murphy feat. GAME, Eric Bellinger & PROBLEM – “You Playin’ (This Could Be Us)”


Jae Murphy is planning to release his debut album, Howard To Hollywood, which entails his personal story about the transitional phase of chasing entertainment dreams after graduation despite the odds set against him.

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MTVU Presents ‘Random Acts’: Back To School For A Howard Student [Video]

This week, MTVU’s Random Acts, teamed up with UsherMacklemore & Ryan LewisNick Cannon and Darren Criss to surprise several worthy students across the country with a kind gesture to celebrate the end of the school year. Starting today, May 6, and premiering throughout that week, MTV, MTV2 and mtvU will air segments in which hardworking, civic-minded students are surprised with appearances, grants and gifts from the networks and some of the biggest celebrities in pop culture. Each segment will premiere on MTV during the 4 p.m. ET/PT hour and subsequently run on MTV2 and mtvU.

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[Video] Brandy Celebrates & Reflects On 18 Years of Her Career

Brandy hit Washington, DC’s Howard Theater over the weekend for a sold out concert. The singer performed past hits, as well as songs from her new album, ‘Two Eleven’. Brandy also took a moment to celebrate her debut single, “I Wanna Be Down” hitting to number #1 spot, 18 years ago. She was surprised with a celebratory cake from her team and took a moment backstage to reflect on 18 years in the game.


[Video] Drake Rocks out at Howard University’s Homecoming with 2 Chainz, Pusha T & More Hosted by LowKey from

It was a wild weekend over in DC! Howard University celebrated their historic Homecoming and with a plethora of celebs in attendance, it was definitely an experience to remember. Peep the clip below as hip-hop connoiseur, Low Key ( host the event with performances by Drake, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & more!