Graduates of the Spelman College Class of 2017 (Photo credit: Spelman College)

Spelman College’s promise is to prepare its students to change the world. Since its founding in 1881, Spelman has produced phenomenal women who dominate in their chosen career paths. From teachers like Christine King Farris and actresses such as Esther Rolle, to businesswomen like Rosalind Brewer and politicians such as Stacey Abrams, the liberal arts HBCU has a huge alumnae network, nationally and globally. Spelman alumnae are found everywhere, especially in the arts and entertainment industries. When you watch your favorite television series, read a selection from “Oprah’s Book Club,” or stream the hottest new song, you may be supporting the work of a Spelman graduate.

Here are 10 noteworthy Spelman alumnae who are actively working in arts and entertainment:

1. Cassi Davis, C’88

  • Cassi Davis is an actress and singer best known for her role as “Ella” on “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” She has also starred in many other Tyler Perry productions. Her feature film debut was in Spike Lee’s School Daze in 1988. While at Spelman, Davis majored in music. However, she withdrew from the college one credit shy of graduation and was not allowed to graduate with her class. Twenty years later, in 2008, Davis returned to Spelman and completed her degree.


2. Tayari Jones, C’91

  • Tayari Jones is the author of Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and An American Marriage. In 2018, Oprah Winfrey announced that An American Marriage would be a selection in “Oprah’s Book Club.” In the same year, former President Barack Obama included An American Marriage on his summer reading list. Throughout Jones’ matriculation at the college, she found her writer’s voice through studying novelists Pearl Cleage, C’71, and the late Toni Morrison.


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