When Megan Thee Stallion announced she was going back to school, fans of the Hip-Hop superstar were shocked at the announcement. After all, what would be the need for her to go back to school when her career on the charts was in full swing?
But, as AfroTech previously reported, that’s exactly what she’s doing. She’s attending Texas Southern University as of this writing and plans to finish her degree in healthcare administration. Additionally, she’s making it easier for other Black women to go to school to pursue their dreams: in addition to making a huge donation toward a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to attend the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports, and Entertainment at Long Island University (LIU), she’s opening up her own healthcare facility for recent graduates to work at, as well.
“Come and get your experience over here,” Megan told Glamour. “Generations taking care of generations, making people feel like they are still at home, still with their families.”
But Megan Thee Stallion isn’t the only celebrity to go back to school after the fame hit. These six celebrities also did the “college thing” after they became household names (And, in one case, they actually lived on campus!).
Take a look at these six celebrities and their non-traditional paths back to school.
Yara Shahidi isn’t letting the success of “Black-ish” get to her head. As of this writing, she’s currently enrolled in Harvard University, where she’s studying social studies. And she’s made clear that she’s not sure about returning to Hollywood when she gets her degree.
“[Hollywood] has proved that it changes so often, so I’d rather spend the time on something [like social studies] that has personally been a passion of mine for so long,” she said to Glamour Magazine. “Hollywood isn’t moving anywhere. I’ll figure it out when I get back.”
And when Yara says it’s her “passion,” she means it — so much so that she even ditched the Emmys early to attend class, AfroTech previously reported.
“I do fly out tonight to make it to class in time,” shared the “Grown-ish” actress in an interview with ET. “The lovely people at The Academy really helped me out because I was like, ‘Guys, I have a hard out to make this flight.’”
Before Oprah Winfrey became the Oprah, she was pursuing a communications degree at Tennessee State University. But according to Cosmopolitan, she accepted a CBS position in her sophomore year of school, causing her to drop out of the university. She ultimately went back to school and finished her degree before giving its commencement speech in 1987.
“I’d made a movie, had been nominated for an Oscar, and founded my company, Harpo. But I told them, I cannot come and give a speech unless I can earn one more credit… So, I finished my coursework, I turned in my final paper and I got the degree,” she said.
It feels like a reality show in the making, but Swizz Beatz went back to school in 2014, long after he rose to superstardom as the premier Ruff Ryders producer. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he enrolled in Harvard University’s business school, and made headlines when he moved into student campus housing! He graduated three years later.
“Today is graduation day,” he wrote under an old picture of his younger self dressed in a blue cap and gown, according to Billboard Magazine. “In life, we must keep graduating until the end. When I say we must graduate I’m talking about on all levels not just school. He noted that while he isn’t receiving a Master’s degree, he’s still proud of his accomplishment. “This moment is special to me and my family, because many people look up to me and they use my drive to thrive.”
Tyra Banks graduated from Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program (O.P.M.) in 2012, and even taught college courses at Stanford about the use of media. But, apropos of nothing, Tyra’s degree caused a lot of controversies when it was announced on social media – so much so, in fact, that predominantly-white, quasi-feminist publication Jezebel launched a mini-investigation into her studies (You make of that what you will).
Smiling ear2ear on the Harvard Business School campus w/ my diploma! Tnx 2 my fab photographer mama 4 the pic! pic.twitter.com/4nAUikL4
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) February 23, 2012
Impressive net worth and a squadron of kids wasn’t enough for child star-turned-Hollywood mogul Nick Cannon, and in 2016, he enrolled in Howard University. In 2020, he graduated from the famed Historically Black College and University (HBCU) with a criminology/administration of justice degree and a minor in Africana Studies, according to Black Enterprise.
Even though Shaquille O’Neal worked hard to get a $400 million net worth, he still had a promise to keep to his mother. Before he turned pro, he was enrolled at Louisiana State University, but left just before his senior year. However, according to People Magazine, he promised his mother that he would eventually finish his degree, and in 2000, he did just that. Impressively, he also got a doctorate degree in education from Barry University in 2012.
So, that’s Dr. Shaq to you!