Pharrell Williams is offering internships to 114 Harlem high school graduates.
The ‘Happy’ hitmaker has promised “A-list internships” to every 2019 graduate of Promise Academy’s two high schools, providing they go to college and finish their first year.
Speaking in a keynote speech delivered last week, Pharrell said: “The world is watching Harlem, but this renaissance will be different. Believe it or not … it’s going to actually be better. The reason why is because the new Harlem Renaissance has education at its core.”
All 114 graduates have been accepted into college, according to Anne Williams-Isom, the CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone – the organization that runs the charter schools – and she says the opportunity given by Pharrell will urge them to “be leaders for justice and change in the world.”
Brionna Pope is one of the students who will benefit from the 46-year-old musician’s internship promise and has said she was “surprised, shocked, and relieved” to discover she had a guaranteed internship waiting for her.
The 17-year-old student told CNN: “I was surprised and shocked and relieved. A lot of us who were financially struggling … to at least know we had a head start in life because next summer we would be able to get internships and make connections.
“My school targets [students] that are financially struggling. I currently have a struggling single mother who is trying to pay for my student loans for Syracuse.”
Brionna is set to study animation at Syracuse University in New York and hopes Pharrell’s internship can help her bag a job with Pixar or DreamWorks.
She added: “I could just get that internship with Pixar, DreamWorks … from any animation company. I will know that I don’t have to settle for less.
“[Students won’t] have to stress about making those connections because they know Pharrell will take them under his wing.
“We already had a 100 percent college acceptance rate, [Pharrell] is going to take the next step forward and provide us an internship so we can keep [going] forward.”