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Real Talk Drives Real Change: Black Futures

Chevrolet and Mike Muse Curate Conversations Around HBCU Culture and Afrofuturism


Mar. 22 2024, Published 2:44 p.m. ET

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Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had a place in this country since the mid-1800s. Striving through struggle, the founders of these astute institutions gathered limited resources and built empires that birthed some of the world’s most significant people. From Martin Luther King of Morehouse College, Jesse Jackson of North Carolina A&T State University, Jacque Reid of Clark Atlanta University, and Kamala Harris of Howard University, each of these institutions and more have planted a seed in its students that has equipped them to grow into world changers much like the ones that have come before them. Now, one of those dedicated to this continued legacy shares his inspiration, and his name is Mike Muse.

In its second year of Real Talk Drives Real Change, Chevrolet takes change agents and influencers around the country to curate conversations about the amazing culture of HBCUs. A veteran participant of the tour, music executive Mike Muse sees and shares the vision behind the mission.

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“What I like to do is to take topics that have an impact on the Black community and Black culture and unpack it, find the nuance and figure out ways that we can advance the conversation,” says Muse of his goal in his second year with Real Talk Drives Real Change. “But sometimes, when we look at advancing for change, we look at this very macro perspective, and, for me, sometimes micro is enough. I always say that people tend to get so caught up in saving the whale that they forget saving the goldfish ultimately has an impact on the entire ecosystem.”

Maintaining a specific poignance on straightforward topics is how Muse guides these conversations, ultimately guiding participants’ self-navigation through them for a clearer understanding of the work that needs to be done. As he explains to Bleu Magazine, one of those topics he looks to address is “Black Future.” With an insatiable interest in technology, Muse —also a Google Tech Policy Fellow — has spent the last eight years focused on advancements like artificial intelligence and big data and how these affect communities of color and marginalized communities from a policy perspective concerning business and entrepreneurship.

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“As we begin this conversation at the top of the year, generative AI — or ChatGPT — has become this big, dark, scary entity,” says Muse. “While there’s concern surrounding generative AI, and we should have guardrails in place to make sure things are protected, AI can be a tool for good.”

Muse also wants to challenge the masses to open their minds and discover how AI can be a tool for Black people in the future. “How do we ensure that AI facial recognition isn’t used in the policing and the police force while having that nuanced conversation on how facial recognition can be helpful in finding missing women of indigenous communities and tribes,” says Muse.

Additionally, Muse wants to focus on the underfunding of Black-founded companies to establish themselves as powerhouses in the business world.

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“That impacts growth,” he says. “If you could use AI to supplement where you don’t have the capital to grow — that is, hiring consultants and the like — these different generative AI tools can be used in place of a consultant as a guide. The same can be done for strategic marketing and targeting. These are the ways that this topic came to the forefront and how we need to be looking at it to advance the conversation.”

The Real Talk Drives Real Change Tour Powered by Chevrolet visited Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), Virginia State University (Fredericksburg, VA), Paul Quinn College (Dallas, TX), and North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC) in the third quarter of 2023. While the partnerships are with these schools, Muse stresses that this work and these conversations are for Black collegiates as a whole.

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“I want the students to know that these conversations are approached in an intellectually sound and intellectually curious way, but still fun, exciting, engaging, and challenging,” he says. “I also don’t want it to be limited to a belief in what they may not know, but they’re already aware of these topics and ready to advance the conversation.”

Mike Muse is known for standing at the intersection of politics and pop culture to introduce people to policy through lifestyle. He hosts The Mike Muse Show, co-hosts Sway in the Morning on Sirius XM Radio, and is a regular ABC News contributor.

For more information on Mike Muse and his work, please visit I AM MIKE MUSE.

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