Carrington Allen,22, is a senior at Prairie View A&M University and a future television host. With only a few months until graduation, Allen takes her time to reflect on her journey as a mass communications student and how PVAMU is preparing her for the changing media landscape.
PVAMU was among the 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to receive a $200,000 grant designed to create a pipeline of career opportunities for its students as well as increase the diversity and representation in the media industry.
This will all be possible through a weekly magazine program called “HBCU Today: Propel to Excel”, a show focused on the success of HBCU students, faculty, and alumni nationwide.
The Defender spoke with Allen to get her perspective of her HBCU experience and how this program is preparing her for the next level of her budding career as a journalist.
You previously attended a PWI (Predominately White Institution). What attracted you to Prairie View A&M’s Media program?
When I attended a PWI during my freshman year of college, I didn’t feel a sense of belonging. Luckily, my school at the time had a national student exchange program where we could take classes on another campus to experience campus culture at the school of my choosing. I always loved Prairie View and decided to do it. It was the best decision. When I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms. I stayed two semesters in the program before I made the choice to transfer. At my PWI there weren’t enough students and teachers who looked like me. I was the only African-American woman in a majority of my classes. When talking about Black history or slavery, everyone is looking at me as the spokesperson to speak on it.
How do you feel about the news media landscape now?
I sacrificed a full-ride scholarship at my PWI. Originally, I was a film and theatre student, but when I came to Prairie View, they didn’t have a film program, so I chose Mass Communications. There is a narrative in the media that depicts African-Americans in a poor light. Our community has influence in different industries and professions and we should be taken more seriously outside of just comedy, music, and entertainment. I want to showcase that. I want to be a professional television host to uplift and showcase the positive news within our community. I want to create and have the flexibility to be innovative and not have to follow the norm.
What are ways PVAMU-TV is helping you prepare for ahead of graduation?
The PVAMU-TV studio is certainly giving me the real-world experience I need to take my talents to the next level. We are researching, writing, producing, and learning how to tell complex stories in simple ways. Learning how to navigate the digital and social media world. We want people to stay tuned and watch the segments we work so hard to produce. We will report on everything from Entertainment to the breaking news.
You are a business owner. How does your business intertwine with your goals in television?
I’m an owner of a plus-size boutique. I want my passion for TV hosting and plus-size fashion to intertwine with each other. TV hosting has given me the confidence and the courage to put myself out there and to be able to speak in front of hundreds of people. I used my voice to pour into other women who struggle with body insecurities. I use the structure and strategies of storytelling to elevate the message behind my brand. All skills I’m learning at PVAMU-TV are transferable.