Do we got a problem?
Odds are, if you’re a #Real Kwanza Jones fan, you’d know that this phrase kicks off the chorus to her thought-provoking, activism-inspiring, public service announcement/ music video/song, Problem. In the song, she challenges society on righting its wrongs and combating the social injustices we still see today.
You see, Kwanza Jones is all about impact and positive change. She knows that sometimes we need to give a boost to make sure things get done. She's not one to see a problem and just walk away, whether it’s within her community, her companies, or society.
Now, the problem she is addressing is one that was long overdue at her, her partner in business & life, José Feliciano, and her sister's alma mater...Princeton University. Through the Kwanza Jones and José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative, they pledged $20 Million to make Princeton a better, more inclusive place.
If you’re a Boost Friend™ who’s up-to-date on all things in the SUPERCHARGED Kwanzaverse, you might be asking: “Why?”
She wrote a Love Letter to Princeton that went VIRAL. It called out Princeton’s lack of action in removing racist former U.S. and Princeton President Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings... So, why would José and Kwanza gift Princeton with $20 Million?!
Kwanza Jones Pledges to Educate NOT Retaliate
Well, if you’ve been in, what we call, the SUPERCHARGED by Kwanza Jones universe, you already know toxicity and bitterness are simply NOT the way she rolls. She's all about solving problems... not exacerbating them. That's why she's on a mission to boost a billion lives for the better, and she's known as your Billionaire Boost Friend. Her intention, and her life's work, is to empower everyone she comes in contact with. And, she's great at her job. When she does something, she does it BIG, or as she likes to say... SUPERCHARGED. So, she looked at the Princeton "problem" of needing to be more diverse and inclusive as an opportunity to get better, not bitter.
Kwanza always operates from a place of love and gratitude. That's why she wrote her Open Love Letter to Princeton. And, it's why despite their unpleasant experience being turned away at a donor event, she and José knew something MORE had to be done.
They thought: “How can we further Princeton’s legacy AND create meaningful change that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging?”
Representation Matters Most
For Kwanza and José, Princeton was the beginning of a love story—both for each other, and their love for Princeton.
When you walk around Princeton, you see buildings named after Rockefeller, Forbes, and (up until recently) Woodrow Wilson. They quickly realized that none of these buildings on campus were named after people who look like them. None of the influential people represented on the physical structures had names that sound like theirs or share their history and culture.
In the physical structures, their beloved Princeton was not representative of all the brilliant minds that contributed to it. And, that lack of representation implicitly yet profoundly impacts people's understanding of place and space. They knew having a seat at the table, being represented ON the building was as important as being IN the building. Kwanza sung about it in her song We Buildin'
Education is one of the four foundational pillars in their investment and grant-making organization, Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano Initiative ("KJJF"). Through KJJF, they are committed to ensuring that students of different ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds are afforded the same opportunity to a great education.
But what happens when they get to places like Princeton and beyond? Will they feel seen, supported, represented, or will they feel like an outcast?
Significant and Symbolic
Kwanza and José's donation to Princeton is significant in numerous ways:
- It is the largest gift by underrepresented people of color to the University.
- The buildings being named will be the first buildings named after Black and Brown people in recognition of their extraordinary financial gift to Princeton.
- It symbolizes that underrepresented people of color DO belong at Princeton and the amazing opportunities that Princeton has to offer are for ALL.
- It highlights the Power of Possibilities.
- It mainstreams diversity.
Their gift is SO much bigger than Princeton. It is about the WORLD.
Despite systemic barriers, everyone deserves the opportunity and access to education. They deserve representation. They deserve a voice.
Princeton helps educated leaders that transform families, communities, businesses, policies, science, research, and the world. Their gift makes that continues that impact and imbues it with color and diversity.