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Oscar Winner, Alum Ruth Carter Keynotes HU’s Graduation

By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent
New Journal and Guide

Two-time Academy Award winning costume designer and HU alumnae Ruth Carter keynoted Hampton University’s 153rd Annual Commencement on Mother’s Day Sunday (May 14) at Armstrong Stadium on the campus of HU.

Carter became the first African-American to win in the category of costume design for the movie “Black Panther” and earn Marvel Studios its first Oscar recognition. Carter scored a second Oscar for her costume design work in the sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and thus making history as the first African-American woman to win multiple Academy Awards in any category and the first costume designer to win for the first film and its sequel.

In her remarks, Carter noted that her costume designs in “Black Panther” pay tribute to the people of Africa by fusing traditional and contemporary fashion with technology to create Afro-futuristic pieces that empower the female form, honor ancient cultures, and invoke a deep sense of representation unlike any other costumes experienced on screen.

Carter told the graduates the theater company on Hampton’s campus gave her an opportunity to learn her craft. She credited director Spike Lee with providing her with costume design jobs in his films “School Daze” and “Malcolm X,” which led to other projects with directors Steven Spielburg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler.  Carter urged the graduates to not give up on their dreams.  

Following her speech, HU President Darryl K. Williams honored Carter with a framed photo of HU’s Emancipation Oak and bestowed upon her an honorary doctorate of Humanities degree.

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