From their start as an HBCU apparel reseller to a current hub of HBCU news, HBCU Lifestyle — led by a father and son team — is making good on their mission to “help preserve the HBCU tradition”.
The comprehensive site keeps readers up-to-date on issues related to college life, scholarship opportunities, careers and the podcasts bring humanity to many of the names we know digitally in the HBCU world. HOPE had the opportunity to pick the brain of Garrick Gibson, the co-mastermind behind HBCU Lifestyle.
HOPE: What makes you a Hope Dealer?
GG: What makes me a Hope Dealer is my relentless pursuit of personal development, and my willingness to teach an inspire others to do the same. I believe you should never be content with your life, because “You can’t get it wrong and you will never get it done”. Education doesn’t end after high school or college; it’s all about life-long learning.
HOPE: What inspired you to attend a HBCU?
GG: Both of my parents are HBCU graduates, and so are many of my extended family members. My father attended Florida A&M University and my mother attended Tuskegee University. You can imagine that I had tons of inspiration to attend an HBCU.
If I had to choose one primary source, I would have to say my father was probably my biggest influence. Growing up, he constantly shared the stories of his HBCU experience and exposed me to HBCU events. We would often visit the campuses of both my parent’s Alma maters as a family. My parents were forward thinking pioneers who taught me to believe that I could do or accomplish anything I set my mind to. I carry this mantra with me today, and teach the same principles to my children.
After considering art schools in the north east, and HBCUs in Georgia, Louisiana and Washington, DC, I ultimately chose Florida A&M and continued the FAMU legacy.
HOPE: Describe your HBCU experience?
GG: My HBCU experience empowered me to gain a better awareness of myself. Without a doubt – my HBCU experience instilled in me a sense of cultural pride and self-worth. It taught me how to collaborate with my peers from various geographic, cultural, economic, and social backgrounds.
I have built lifelong bonds and cultivated meaningful relationships, which I highly value today.
I connected with professors and administrators who treated me like family. It was truly the village approach. If one of your professors found out you were slipping up or slacking off, you would hear about it from all of them. They had no problem pulling you to the side and reminding you why you were there in the first place.
HOPE: What has been your greatest professional or personal challenge and how did you overcome it?
GG: My greatest personal challenge was overcoming a long time battle with being overweight. In 2010 I cracked the code on my personal health and wellness. I achieved this goal by shifting my mindset. I surrounded myself with people, atmospheres, and things that inspired me. From there I began to naturally attract the resources I needed to support my goals. I read a book that taught me to understand my specific body chemistry, and the foods that didn’t agree with my system.
Other things included, becoming friends with a personal trainer who taught me about fitness, and finding a running group at work that eventually inspired me to run a marathon. The primary thing that has allowed me to overcome and accomplish this challenge on a daily bases, was changing my belief system. I now focus all of my thoughts and energy on what I do want and not on what I don’t want. I have come to understand that our experience is solely derived from the things we devote our attention.
HOPE: How did HBCU Lifestyle get started?
GG: HBCU Lifestyle is a family operated website that originally began in 2009 as a HBCU apparel reseller site originally named Collegiate Brands. Collegiate Brands was the brainchild of my father Richard Gibson, Jr. who is the co-founder. Over the past few years our brand has undergone several changes including changing our name to HBCU Lifestyle and shifting our focus from apparel to news in 2010.
HOPE: HBCU Lifestyle has transformed since its inception. What vision do you have for its future?
GG: In May of this year we changed our focus again, this time to higher education. Today our foundation is firmly set on higher education, with a mission to “preserve the HBCU tradition”, by providing the next generation of HBCU students and their families with valuable advice on college admissions, campus life and financial aid resources. In 2013 we are looking forward to continuing our mission by consistently producing quality content and launching products and services which support our audience.
Give HOPE. Live HOPE.
About Garrick Gibson
Gibson has been known as a creative, the title that has followed him since middle school. Gibson was in the first graduation class of Design and Architecture Senior High, which is now one of the top schools in the nation (according to US News and World Report), providing a great stepping stone to an HBCU education. Now Gibson and his father maintain Higher Education website HBCU Lifestyle.
HOPE’s own Assistant Director Michelle Janaye, was recently featured in an HBCU Lifestyle podcast. Click HERE to listen.