"Famed" Entertainer Debbie Allen Visits Tenn. State PDF Print E-mail
By Madelyn Ragland - Black College Wire   

While in town for the International Black Film Festival, Debbie Allen, a well-known actor, director, dancer, choreographer and singer, visited the Tennessee State University recently to encourage students to pursue their dreams.

Debbie Allen with sister Phylicia Rashad

A graduate of Howard University and 10- time director of the Academy Awards, Allen visited the communications department to motivate students and to stress the importance of art and culture.

"Debbie Allen was a bright spirit in the studio and answered questions very humbly and down to earth," said Melissa Hall, a junior mass communications major from Memphis. "She also stressed the importance of doing things that will help you (students) to move forward and not backwards or sideways."

Allen, widely known for her choreography in "Fame," said America needs to reinvest in education, because the (communication) industry is bigger now. She said that students now have more venues to get them out there. In fact, she said, technology has redefined the industry which allows the world to communicate better.

Many undergraduates should reclaim their images of what they want to do with their lives in the industry, Allen advised. She also discussed values, saying it's better to buy a painting versus a car.

Furthermore, she added that her mother, who she said is her biggest inspiration, made her and her siblings believe in the arts and culture "and ourselves." Allen openly admitted she had to focus on herself as a woman, if she wanted to succeed in the industry.

"Continue to take steps (in) your journey," said Allen, who served as the IBFF honorary chair, was scheduled to participate in the festival along with a host of celebrities that included Mykelti Williamson, who played Pvt. Benjamin Buford "Bubba Blue" in "Forrest Gump" and was nominated for an Emmy for his role as Detective Bobby "Fearless" Smith in the TV series "Boomtown."

For three days, the 2007 IBFF program held in Nashville brought together acclaimed films through symposiums, training workshops and glamorous events.

"(It was) an enlightening experience to have someone of her caliber to take her time to visit TSU," said Tosha Rogers, a senior mass communications major from Ontario, Canada.

Allen's lengthy entertainment career has included television roles in "Roots, the Next Generations" and "Stompin' at the Savoy;" she has produced and directed movies including "Amistad," and "Fame," and she has directed numerous TV episodes including "The Jamie Foxx Show" and "Family Ties."

Madelyn Ragland is a student at Tennessee State University and senior staff writer for the Meter.To comment, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Posted Oct. 15, 2007

Posted Oct. 15, 2007
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