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Felicity Warner / HCM
Life > Academics

Howard Student honored with the Halle Bailey Angel scholarship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Howard chapter.
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Felicity Warner / HCM

On Aug. 2 Phyllise Jade, a junior majoring in musical theater (BFA) from Atlanta received a call from one of her professors, who was a co-founder of Black Theater United. The professor requested her biography, resume, headshot, and independent work. Phyllise was not fully informed about the details but was informed that she had been recommended by her professor, and the opportunity involved mentorship in music and performing arts. Her Atlanta background sparked her curiosity about why her professor chose her.

Despite not having all the information, Phyllise felt compelled to provide the requested materials. She considered it a blessing to receive this call from a professor she didn’t know well but who saw potential in her.

While Phyllise was doing well in her musical theater program, she had not always been fully focused on it, as she had made sacrifices for her art and music. As she delved deeper into the program, she realized that even though she may not have had strong connections with her professors, they recognized her potential. The recommendation confirmed that they believed in the vision she had been pursuing and were supporting her.

Now, as she began her junior year at Howard University, that same professor contacted her with news that she had been selected and awarded a $10,000 scholarship. The professor also mentioned that more details would be revealed on Friday.

Amidst a shroud of secrecy, Phyllise found herself in the College of Fine Arts building, quietly escorted by the professor to a private room. There, she was asked to join a Zoom call with a special guest.

“Halle Bailey appeared on the screen, and for me, being very spiritual, I instantly saw it as a blessing. I started tearing up,” Phyllise recounted.

Phyllise had not realized that all her hard work was paying off. It felt like a sign from God. She was in the room, her name was mentioned, and that alone was incredible for Halle to see her work and acknowledge elements discussed in her biography, such as producing videos and documentaries.

“On the Zoom call, all I could say was ‘blessing’ because that’s how I felt.”

In the brief 5 to 7-minute Zoom call, Phyllise told Halle, “I’ll see you on the red carpet,” and Halle responded in agreeance. 

Creating and producing soulful music through her stories is a way for Phyllise to serve the world and touch people’s hearts through the glory of God.

Since her freshman year, she has produced and released her debut album and is currently working on her upcoming album titled “Testimony.” Phyllise finds it remarkable that all this is happening alongside receiving the Angel Award from Halle Bailey.

Her passion for music, production, and direction at Howard University has allowed Phyllise to see a bright path ahead.

“When I create music, I’m not just providing a sound; I want people to see the story as well, which is why I work diligently on my visuals,” she explained.

With this award, Phyllise is uncertain about her plans but expresses that she has been grappling with the challenge of financing her education at Howard University and pursuing her personal dreams and goals.

“Whatever the award entails, it will be directed toward my goals. I have aspirations for both education and art. I’m seriously considering investing in equipment to document and create visual projects, and content, and document my life. It’s all up in the air, and I’ll follow whatever path God guides me on.”

Phyllise found confirmation in receiving this scholarship, recognizing that the effort she has put in so far has not been in vain. She believes that everything she desires will eventually come to fruition.

“During those times when I felt like I was in a wilderness, going through challenges while still working but not seeing any improvement, I would remind myself not to let my mind have power over me. I would remember my ‘why’ and where I started.”

Roniya Johnson is a junior broadcast journalism major with a minor in political science at the illustrious Howard University. Hailing from Stamford, Connecticut, Roniya has discovered a passion for writing, interviewing, photography, and being in front of the camera. She is not only a member of HerCampus's content team but also serves as a co-content director for Howard’s chapter. In her free time, Roniya enjoys binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy or pampering herself. After graduating from Howard University, Roniya hopes to become the face and voice of radio while also writing for CNN.