Pharrell Pays Off Five Students’ Debts At An NAACP Panel

Over the past two years, student debt has become a hot-button issue, in part because of certain campaign promises made by Joe Biden during his successful bid for the Presidency. While conservative commentators have railed against debt forgiveness — mostly to oppose Democrats, despite the policy’s overwhelming popularity among voters — others have taken matters into their own hands. In 2019, Vista Equity founder and billionaire Robert F. Smith paid off the tuition of the entire Morehouse University graduating class. Now, Pharrell Williams, in an attempt to lead by example, has done the same for five student leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

During a Friday panel on the student debt crisis for Black scholars at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, DC, Pharrell announced he was paying off all student debt for students of Southern University, Howard, and Florida A&M, as well as alumni of North Carolina AT, and Norfolk State. The panel’s organizer, NAACP National Director of Youth and College Wisdom Cole, said, “Pharrell forever changed their lives. This was a powerful moment. Now just imagine if President Biden made this a reality for all student debt holders in America.”

Meanwhile, NCAAP President and CEO Derrick Johnson posted photos of the youth leaders as they learned of their debt cancelation on Twitter, imploring President Biden, “It’s your turn now to do the same for all Americans plagued by student debt.” Hours later, Pharrell kicked off his Something In The Water Festival, where he’s set to perform with Clipse, Justin Timberlake, SZA, and more.