Returning guest Omarosa Newman joins Demario Thornton to go into deeper detail about her educational journey through multiple Historically Black Colleges and Universities and why she chose to attend Southern University–also an HBCU–for law school. Since their inception, HBCUs have focused on educating brilliant young minds. Tune in to learn more about the unique experience students find at these institutions.
Check out Omarosa’s book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.
Omarosa Newman is a reality tv star, a communications professional, and a 1L at Southern University Law Center.
Intro: Welcome to the official ABA Law Student Podcast, where we talk about issues that affect law students and recent grads from finals and graduation to the bar exam and finding a job. This show is your trusted resource for the next big step. You’re listening to the Legal Talk Network.
DeMario Thornton: Hey guys, and welcome back to the ABA Law Student Podcast on Legal Talk Network. If you’re just joining us, that means that you have an episode that you need to listen to that we actually recorded last time. I am DeMario Thornton and we had a great conversation with Omarosa, so great that we need to extend it a little bit longer. This is part two of our conversation. Today, we’re going to actually continue our conversation where we actually got a little bit deeper about our journey through Historically Black Colleges and Universities, more specifically law schools. We talked about our experiences, what made us want to go to law school, what made us want to go to HBCUs, so take a listen.
All right, ladies and gentlemen listen, we are back again. She’s probably going to just become a co-host at this point. We are back again with the incomparable Omarosa.
Omarosa Newman: The DeMario and Lady O show. Here we are live on the–
DeMario Thornton: Wait, I get top billing, oh my God. I got top billing. The price just went up, let me just say that.
Omarosa Newman: Yesterday’s price is not today’s price.
DeMario Thornton: It’s not today’s.
Omarosa Newman: Tell them, DeMario.
DeMario Thornton: Listen, last time we actually talked about your trajectory to getting to law school, but today, I want to talk about something that is near and definitely dear to my heart, HBCUs, on the ABA Law School Podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, we have, I believe it’s, with the last time I checked was 105 HBCUs, I believe.
Omarosa Newman: It’s around there.
DeMario Thornton: Something around there. I have personally been to two HBCUs. I’m a graduate of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. I will be graduating from Southern University Law Center in May of 2023. But ladies and gentlemen, Omarosa has not been to one, not two, not three. Wait, is it four or has it been five?
Omarosa Newman: This is my fourth. This is my fourth?
DeMario Thornton: This is her fourth HBCU that she will get a degree from. Omarosa, tell us about these HBCUs.
Omarosa Newman: I don’t know if you watch Different World. Did you watch–
DeMario Thornton: I’ve seen every episode, and do.
Omarosa Newman: That show has such an incredible impact on me, watching Different World. It just didn’t even seem real. I had never seen a glimpse of that. I grew up in Ohio, the college in Youngstown that was near me was Youngstown State. It was a predominantly a white institution and that’s where I thought I was going to go to school or I went to visit Wilberforce and I went to visit Central State as an athlete. And so, when I got to Central State and they gave me that Different World vibe, I was like, oh I’m all in. I know I didn’t want to leave Ohio and so it was going to be either Central State or Wilberforce and I chose Central State because of their athletics. But I had to have that experience. I had to get a taste of that different world and it really was a different world.
DeMario Thornton: It really does feel like that. I guess the closest thing to being in a movie or being in a TV show in real life is going to HBCU. I really believe that you will not get another experience like this. I do want to know, I think we talked about a little bit beforehand, you were Ms. Central State.
Omarosa Newman: I was.
DeMario Thornton: Can you please tell the people the gravity of what being a king or queen at an HBCU means?
Omarosa Newman: Oh, the gravity of being the HBCU queen on your campus is, I didn’t even know how you measure it. My freshman year, there was a woman named Dina Pow. She is so beautiful and regal. Just perfect skin and she would get up and speak at convocations. She would say, I am Dina and I am Ms. Central State. I was sitting there like, “I want to be Ms. Central State.”
DeMario Thornton: Listen, all of them had a grace — I still remember because I was an HBCU King, but my freshman year, we had a queen and her name was Shamitra Gooden. She’s like, “I’m Shamitra Gooden, Ms. Talladega College.” I’m like–
Omarosa Newman: That’s how you say it too. You got to say it right.
DeMario Thornton: It’s something about that. But like, these are little things and little nuggets that you will not experience anywhere else, but you saw Dina and I’m sure you were like, “I’m going to be the next –.”
Omarosa Newman: See, plant it, soil ready, water that thing for three years because you can’t run for Ms. Central State until your senior year. And so, I spent three years preparing.
DeMario Thornton: Listen, keeping on this day. They don’t understand, it is, you are methodically trying to figure out how you would get this and while it is a fun experience, I truly believe that being HBCU King or Queen will prepare you for law school.
Omarosa Newman: Oh it does. Listen, there was an additional challenge for me. No woman had ever won Ms. Central State without being in a sorority. Each year, it changed. You were either AK–
DeMario Thornton: Yeah, you have to be.
Omarosa Newman: That’s the only way you win. Well, my campaign was built on being an athlete and my relationship with the international students and community who also made up a big part of our athletic community. I ran a very different campaign and became the first woman I think in my 30 years of the title to become Ms. Central State without being a member of the divine nine, and that was just pretty remarkable.
DeMario Thornton: This is why we love our HBCUs. There are six HBCU law schools. What made you say, because your name has notoriety behind it. What made you say, “I am going to an HBCU law school?”
Omarosa Newman: Confession. I only applied to the six HBCUs.
DeMario Thornton: Me too! Confession.
Omarosa Newman: True confessions of a law student. I knew that I wanted to continue my education at an HBCU. I regret that there are only six.
DeMario Thornton: Makes it more exclusive.
Omarosa Newman: Right. And so, I thought I would probably go to Howard Law School because it was very comfortable, but then the lawyer who represented me in one of my major cases I talked about is a graduate of Southern University. Her name is Erica Jackson, God bless you, Erica. She said, “You should consider my law school.” I was thinking she is such a good lawyer. We won the case. She’s such a good lawyer, such an incredible person. I’m going to have to give it full consideration. Sure enough, Southern was the first school to accept me. I mean, it was like that. I applied maybe two weeks. Oh, my momma calling, hold on. Sorry, y’all. Am I back?
DeMario Thornton: Yep, you do.
Omarosa Newman: She isn’t going to stop calling until I tell her wait. It’s my momma. Mommy, I’m going to call you back.
Female Speaker: Look.
Omarosa Newman: Oh, so nice. You did that already.
Female Speaker: Yeah.
Omarosa Newman: Oh my gosh, mom, it’s so cute.
Female Speaker: Call me back.
Omarosa Newman: I’ll call you back. Love you. Bye-bye.
DeMario Thornton: Shout out to Momma Rosa.
Omarosa Newman: Rosa. Momma would have kept calling this phone until I answer it.
DeMario Thornton: That’s my mom.
Omarosa Newman: She has my law school schedule. I gave her a whole printout on where I’m supposed to be studying right now.
DeMario Thornton: She knows.
Omarosa Newman: And this is our only little window to call me in so she would have kept calling me.
DeMario Thornton: A lot of people say that HBCUs or HBCU law schools don’t prepare you.
Omarosa Newman: That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’ve heard that argument since my first days at Central State. “Oh, going to an all-Black school will not prepare you for the real world and you won’t go very far if you go to just an HBCU.” Well, I’m here to tell you as someone who has worked in the White House, not once but twice not for just one U.S. President but two and a Vice President, I’ve worked for two U.S. government agencies. I’ve worked for three billionaires and I have worked for two Fortune 500 companies. I have done that with an HBCU education, so do not listen to the detractors, it is not true. The truth is that you get an incredible quality education at HBCUs personalized just for you, people who care about your matriculation and is not just passing through. It is truly a place that you can grow. It’s like an incubator.
DeMario Thornton: Incubator for gladiators. I say that all the time. It’s an incubator for gladiators. Let me tell you something like going to an HBCU, first of all, there is a level of grit that you need to have, because everything is not just handed on a silver platter. Sometimes you might have to go dig their platter up, but it just teaches you so much grit. I definitely believe that it makes us more valuable and it makes us have a little bit more hunger and tenacity than other students.
Omarosa Newman: My legal hero, a giant of all giants, Thurgood Marshall graduated from an HBCU, a Howard University graduate, who truly, I look to the work that he’s done including helping to start the Southern University Law Center. That’s just really all the inspiration that you need to know that you’re in the right place.
DeMario Thornton: Correct. No, I definitely agree. I hear a lot of people, they always like to, and I’m just realizing that in this moment, I always tell people. I was just telling you the college of people, like, “What’s that, or whatever.” I would just imagine that you came from a Harvard or a Yale or some Ivy League school, but it just goes to show the level of competency and the levels that HBCUs are placing into their students because —
Omarosa Newman: You know what? God bless Ivy League schools. They produce U.S. presidents. Our first African American president graduated from Harvard, so kudos to them, but I’ve lectured at so many of these Ivy League’s. I’ve lectured at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, you name it. I’ve been there and I will tell you the difference for me has been going to an institution that has always had my best interest at heart. They didn’t just start accepting African Americans, 30, 40 years ago like some of them, but from its inception. Historically, Black colleges and universities were designed for people like DeMario and Omarosa to educate brilliant, young minds and give them an opportunity to thrive and to make a positive impact on our communities. That’s what HBCUs have done for me, the assumption that I would be better, greater whatever, a PWI. The truth of the matter is what I bring to this institution helps me, but it also helps the institution and that’s the way it should be that we should be cultivating while we’re getting our education, cultivating the next generation and that’s always what I’ve worked to do.
DeMario Thornton: There is a little Black girl and a little Black boy out there listening to this podcast because you know how it is. When you’re about to go to law school, you’re listening to any and everything you can that says law school.
Omarosa Newman: Everything.
DeMario Thornton: Literally, any and everything. What would you say is the greatest gift that a person of color can get from an HBCU law school?
Omarosa Newman: Affirmation. I’m reminded every day that I am enough and that I can conquer anything that I put my mind to. There are people who are cheering me on every step of the way and reaffirming my purpose, my vision, my work. That’s what I will say to you. You make this choice because you know what, you know who you are and you know what you want to do and now you just need that amazing village to help you accomplish it.
DeMario Thornton: I’m a person that likes to read between the lines. I’m analytical and I always think to myself like I hear all the noise, what people say about Omarosa, see it all in the news or whatever like that, but when I look at your resume, you’ve been to four HBCUs and you probably could have went anywhere you wanted to go but you’ve chosen to go to HBCUs. What is the most significant thing about HBCUs that you believe has helped you to prosper?
Omarosa Newman: Well, I love being at an HBCU because I think that the greatest asset is its faculty and its staff. I mean, my relationships have lasted my entire lifetime. When I am not in class, Professor Williams will pick up the phone and say, “Girl, why aren’t you in class? You didn’t email or text me. Are you okay? Oh, you’re not feeling well. Okay, now I know. Call me after. Do you need something?” That’s what I need as a student to grow, to thrive and to accomplish what I said, and I’ve gotten that at every one of my HBCUs, every single one without fail. If I’m not doing well, if I don’t show up, if I’m not the same, if I’m in the classroom and my spirit is down, let me tell you something, they will call you on it. That’s what I need. I need people cheering for me. I need people calling me out when I’m not giving my 100%. I need someone to check on me when I’m not showing up, and I need folks to reaffirm that I am great. I am brilliant. I am capable and I am equipped to be the greatest attorney that I put my mind to. That’s what I need as a learner and that’s what I get at an HBCU.
DeMario Thornton: When you are looking at I guess the candidate pool of law students, what would you say if you had a, this is Omarosa. Omarosa is the boss. The Omarosa Law Firm of America International Global Industry. You have two students, one from HBCU, one from a PWI. What do you already know about that HBCU law student just by seeing their school name on paper?
Omarosa Newman: That’s a tricky question. In no way I want to advance any biases but we do have shared experiences at Historically Black Colleges and Universities that require you to be organized, that require you to navigate the administration, to navigate the process, to navigate the politics, to navigate sometimes the divisions and the unities and the click sometimes. And so, I feel like if you’ve successfully navigated all of that and you’ve never given up and you complete it successfully, completed your matriculation at an HBCU, that you are equipped with tools and skills that other people that did not attend Black college have. That’s my assumption.
DeMario Thornton: Yes, yes, yes. There was the perfect answer. One day, I’m going to learn to answer questions like you. Cool. And so, I want you guys to please go get Omarosa’s book, ‘Unhinged’. You can buy it wherever books are sold. I got mine from Kindle, I mean, mine’s on Kindle, but you can get it wherever books are sold. It’s a very good book especially if you like celebrity nonfiction. I believe and I have returned many celebrity non-fiction books and I did not return yours, so it’s a very good book. Where can people find you on social media, Omarosa?
Omarosa Newman: Please follow me on Twitter. I’m @Omarosa. On Instagram, I’m @Omarosa. On LinkedIn, @Omarosa. On Snap, @Omarosa. On TikTok @Omarosa. No, I’m kidding. Just add Omarosa.
DeMario Thornton: Before I let you go, Omarosa, I just want to know, have you ever met another Omarosa?
Omarosa Newman: I met an O-M-O, Omorosa in Italy when I was there. It was a guy and his name is spelled with an O, but no I haven’t met one with the same spelling although there was a woman who named her daughter after me because I coached her in pageants, so there’s another Omarosa out there, I can tell you that.
DeMario Thornton: But you’re probably the first one. Well, I thank you so much. I know you are a very busy woman and I really do thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out to come just to speak with me which you didn’t have to do, but you so graciously did. Thank you so much.
Omarosa Newman: DeMario, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your show and this has been a wonderful conversation.
DeMario Thornton: All right, guys. Well, thank you so much to Omarosa once again for coming and spend a little time with me. Thank you so much for you for spending a little time with me and make sure to keep listening to us wherever you listen to your podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or Spotify Podcast. Hey, there’s no judgments here. I’ll see you next time and make sure to don’t do anything. Just make sure you’re back here next time.
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