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Black History Month Observance Continues at A-State with T. J. Holmes, BET Personality


JONESBORO – Black Entertainment Television (BET) personality T. J. Holmes, a native of West Memphis, will speak Monday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. as part of the continuing observance of Black History Month at Arkansas State University.

A-State students will hear the Arkansas native present “A Tribute to Black History Month” and discuss his personal success with freedom and equality and what this means in today’s society, in support of the Black History Month theme.

Holmes is host of BET’s “Don’t Sleep” and a former news anchor for Cable News Network (CNN).

“Black History Month is celebrated nationwide in February with programs and events that not only commemorate the past, but also honor the continuous progress that African Americans have made,” according to Niya Blair, director of the Multicultural Center at ASU.

The university has been celebrating Black History Month with a series of events and programs geared toward the success of African Americans. Blair added, “T. J. Holmes is an excellent role model for our students at Arkansas State.”

Holmes’ presentation will be in Centennial Hall of the Carl R. Reng Student Union. Sponsors are the Multicultural Center, College of Communications, ASU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Black Student Association. The event is free and open to the public.

Last fall, Holmes began hosting “Don’t Sleep,” a new late-night program on BET. Holmes inked a multi-platform talent agreement with BET Networks that includes “Don’t Sleep” and other content.

Previously, Holmes was a news anchor and award-winning correspondent at CNN for more than five years. He reported from the scene of numerous breaking news events, including the Joplin, Mo., tornadoes, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the shootings at Virginia Tech.

He covered Pope Benedict’s historic visit to the United States in 2008, including anchoring live from the mass at Yankee Stadium, and he obtained some of the first stories from the survivors of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River in 2009. He also anchored several other major news stories.

Earlier in his career, Holmes was a news anchor at NBC11 in the San Francisco Bay Area, weekend anchor and reporter at KTHV in Little Rock, and reporter at KSNF in Joplin.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Holmes serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Board of Advisors at the university and is also on the Board of Visitors at Emory University in Atlanta.

He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the National Association of Black Journalists, and he has been named to the Grio 100 List of History Makers and the Root 100 List of Influential African Americans. His wife is Marilee Holmes, an immigration attorney.

Other upcoming events on the Black History Month schedule include:

  • World-class singer, guitarist, and songwriter Allan Harris will perform in the Fowler Center Series on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The Allan Harris band plays music that includes jazz, rock, and blues. For tickets, contact Fowler Center at (870) 972-2781.
  • The Black Student Association at ASU will host its annual BSA Week. Events include Black History Jeopardy in the Student Union Multicultural Center on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. Also, BSA’s All Black Affair will be held Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. This is a semi-formal gala where students, faculty, and the community enjoy an evening of fine dining and music dressed in all black attire. For more information about BSA Week contact LaTasha Moore at Latasha.moore@smail.astate.edu.
  • Monday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. is the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s Best Steppers. This is a step show where members of historically black Greek-letter organizations perform routines of step and dance for the title of “Best Steppers” on campus. The event will be held at the Nettleton Performing Arts Center. The cost is $5 with a canned good or $7 without. For details, more information please contact Alexis Hurdle at (870) 972-2055.
  • The Black History Month celebration concludes with the Multicultural Center’s annual Gospel Explosion on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. This celebration pays homage to gospel music and the significance it played in history.

For a complete list of events during Black History Month, individuals may visit the Multicultural Center‘s website, http://www.astate.edu/a/leadership-center/multicultural-center/ or call 870-680-4052.

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T. J. Holmes
T. J. Holmes