OP-ED: DJ Envy’s Wisdom
By DJ Envy, Discover the Unexpected Program Ambassador
Hey, everyone. It’s DJ Envy.
I am really proud to be writing to you all at the conclusion of Chevrolet’s Discover the Unexpected Journalism Fellowship. It has been a real pleasure for me to serve as a Discover the Unexpected ambassador, and I can’t wait to see everyone in Detroit.
My path to becoming a Discover the Unexpected ambassador started when I made the decision to go to Hampton University. My mother stressed education and emphasized the importance of getting a degree at a Black institution. She instilled a sense of pride in our household about Historically Black Colleges and Universities so that when it came time for me to apply for school, going to an HBCU felt like the natural thing to do.
As the first child in my family to attend college, and coming from a predominantly white high school, I wanted to be in a college environment with people who looked like me and had similar life experiences.
My path into the music and entertainment business was helped by my friends and classmates at Hampton. They exposed me to music that was popular in their hometowns and allowed me to share my music with them. By catering to a diverse crowd, I was able to gain the wisdom and musical acumen necessary to transition from being a local mixtape disc jockey into becoming a disc jockey the whole country knew about. I remember how students on campus who didn’t even know me would promote and spread my music by buying my mixtapes, and then they’d take my music back with them to their hometowns.
I wish that the Chevrolet DTU program had existed when I was in college. I know it will play an important role in kick-starting these current DTU Fellows’ careers in journalism and media. I believe this experience can empower these young journalism students to reach the next level in their careers.
I wanted to be an ambassador for DTU because the program marries together three things that I care passionately about: an HBCU education, a career in media and cars!
It’s important to me that the DTU Fellows take full advantage of the experience. I feel that they need to cherish this opportunity because so many others would love to have the chances they are getting. I cannot stress this enough: For the Fellows to get the most out of the program, they need to network constantly, take every photo, write down or record every piece of advice they get, and never quit hustling.
I feel that standing up for Black journalism is critical right now because so many media companies are not Black-owned. As a result, some of these companies struggle to relate to the problems faced by the majority of the Black population. I feel that these companies may not be able to connect as well with the personal anger our community feels on certain stories and that they may have an agenda when they cast the Black community in a certain light. That’s why it’s crucial to me that African Americans understand that “we owe it to ourselves to help change the narrative.” I feel that changing the way African Americans are being portrayed in the media can only come from having Black journalists in positions of power. Chevrolet Discover the Unexpected is training the next generation of Black journalists to help make that change happen.