PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - International Women’s Day has come and gone, but the celebration of women continues throughout the month of March for Women’s History Month. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff welcomed a keynote speaker who not only inspired, but also empowered the crowd.
You may remember her as Whitley from the popular show “A Different World," but today Jasmine Guy reminded everyone, both men and women, what it means to have your own purpose, voice, and identity.
“Get up, make a goal and achieve it,” said Kortney White, a student at UAPB.
White said she thoroughly enjoyed UAPB's celebration of women. Another student, Rayven Nelson said she's thankful to attend a university that celebrates women locally and around the world.
"The sky is not the limit, don't take that in bad way. Go beyond that. Go beyond the stars," she said recalling the event.
Dean of Student Affairs, Kara Brown, said the annual program celebrates and recognizes women for all of their hard work and effort throughout the years. Each year students have the opportunity to hand pick who they’d like to hear from. This year they selected Jasmine Guy.
But, just like any other celebrity, she’s more than just a face you on screen.
"By bringing her here, as Jasmine Guy herself, we get to see people are beyond what they display on TV and in entertainment," said White.
The popular actor, dancer, and director delivered an uplifting, honest message.
"I enjoyed the program a lot. I feel like Ms. Guy was very realistic," Nelson said. "She was very inspirational.”
Nelson said Guy encouraged her to continue fighting the stereotypes placed upon women in today’s society. For White, she now plans to go above and beyond what’s expected of her.
"I'm starting to realize that I don't want to be in the background. I want to be that person you talk about in your history books,” White said.
Students say it's programs like this one that remind them how important it is to work together.
"We can stand tall, we can get through anything together. Not tear each other down, but build each other up," said Nelson.
These young women are leading with intention, not backing down, and not taking no for an answer.
"She gave me courage to just be me and have my individuality spread throughout everybody. My community, the state, and the country. I want to impact others.”
UAPB prides itself in presenting accomplished, yet relatable, speakers to their students.
Most recently, Jasmine Guy has been performing Raisin' Cane, a one woman musical journey through the Harlem Renaissance. You can also catch her in the BET drama, The Yard.