ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who attended the HBCU Winston-Salem State University, knows the difficulties that many Black college students face after graduation, because he experienced them.
During an exclusive interview with rolling out, the former college baller shared advice for HBCU graduates, as well as young journalists that want to be the next Stephen A. Smith.
“I’d remind them about hard work, about how nothing is given to you, about how there is a proverbial glass ceiling; how there are times when you are going to feel like you have to be twice as much to get half as much, or to be twice as good to get half as much. No matter what this world tells you about how much we’ve progressed, we have a long way to go,” said Smith, who was in Atlanta to cover the Super Bowl for ESPN.
“Don’t take your success for granted, monetarily or otherwise,” he added. “Don’t think for one second that people owe you. Don’t think that because we’ve had a Black president and we have Black elected officials, and we have successful individuals from the African American community that have accomplished a great, great deal, that you’ve arrived. The road is still incredibly difficult. Nobody is going to feel any sympathy for you. Nobody is going to have any compassion for you. You are going to have to go out and get it. Nobody is going to give you anything.”
Smith urges aspiring young journalists to not become fixated on how much money they can make, but to avail themselves of every opportunity that comes their way.
“There’s a lot of luck. There [are] a lot of blessings that have come my way. So I would tell them not to aspire to be the next Stephen A. Smith, but to be better,” he added. “Be even more focused, [and] if you can find a way, work even harder.”