Junior Fellowship: Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson ’23 poses with DJ Khalil.

Connor Tang

Jessica Thompson ’23 visited New York to learn about the Black community’s impact on the music industry. Thompson interviewed Atlantic Records Vice President Riggs Morales, hip-hop star DJ Khaled and strangers in New York for her Junior Summer Fellowship.

Thompson said she chose to apply to the fellowship program for the opportunity to fully explore her own interests.

“I [have] been interested in doing research about the music and entertainment industry because that is the field I want to work in when I am older,” Thompson said. “The basis of my project is basically the Black community’s effect on the music industry.”

Thompson said her interview with Morales was memorable because of his kind nature and the way he addressed the issue of Black misrepresentation.

“For years, there’s been Black producers or Black songwriters who are not mainstream but provide songs and help with the productions of songs,” Thompson said. “So [Morales] started this organization called the Black Music Collective [and] began giving those Black artists and creators recognition.”

Thompson said she is currently finishing her interviews and working on her final product, which includes a documentary and an original song.

“My end project is called ‘What They Forgot,’ and I am turning it into a compilation of all the interviews, sort of a documentary-type thing,” Thompson said. “[The project] is called ‘What They Forgot’ because it discusses how in today’s music industry, we fail to recognize the Black artists and individuals who got [the music industry] to where it is now.” 

Thompson said her fellowship experience helped her discover a possible career path and consider her own identity as a Black woman.