Spike Lee’s HBCU Fellowship Program Partners With Ralph Lauren

Spike Lee’s committment to helping the next generation of Black talent has always been unwavering.

Announced this week, Lee’s HBCU fellowship program, Spike Lee Fellows, has partnered with Ralph Lauren in a new initiative aiming to provide professional attire to the program’s participants.

Spike Lee Fellows is designed to help nurture talented undergraduate students at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, who have an interest in the film industry. The program is based on the principle that access plus exposure creates opportunities.

“It is with great honor, privilege, and excitement to announce the Spike Fellows in association with my partners The Gersh Agency and the AUCC,” Lee said when the program was first announced in January 2023,. “From the jump, from the get-go, I knew when (not if) I opened a crack in the door, I was bringing as many Black and Brown folks with me in front and behind the camera.”

“I know firsthand the education one receives at a Historically Black College and University. I am who I am because of my grandmother (Zimmie Jackson) and my mother (Jacquelyn Shelton Lee) who both graduated from Spelman College. I am who I am because of my grandfather (Richard Jackson Shelton) and my father (William Lee) who both graduated from Morehouse. It’s on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse where they met, fell in love, and got married. As my elders often told me, ‘Deeds not words,’ Lee added.  

Five students from the AUC are currently Spike Lee fellows and the program hopes to welcome 5 additional students for 2024.

Last year, all five fellows secured full-time employment at Gersh following an immersive eight-week paid summer learning experience at the agency’s New York and L.A. offices. Supporting their transition into the next phase of professional development, Ralph Lauren provided a curated product assortment and individual styling appointments to the program’s first five Spike Lee Fellows.

“What makes this cross-industry partnership so meaningful is that it’s rooted in longstanding relationships where all parties share an unwavering commitment to providing access to transformative opportunities specifically for Black talent,” said Gersh’s head of culture, Jayson Council.

Spike Lee shouted out Ralph Lauren in a statement, adding, “Big Thanks to the good folks at Ralph Lauren for blessing our HBCU fellowship program with fashion for the seasons. We and the students truly appreciate it, peace and Love Ya-DIG SHO-NUFF?”