Award Winning Gospel Artist Joanna Hale-McGill Partners With HBCU Dillard University For Sip & Sing

In partnership with her alma mater, Joanna Hale-McGill is partnering with Dillard University. The award-winning songbird has designed a Sip & Sing, an appreciation experience on February 4, 2023, that makes sense given the students’ life realities and what they want out of a college education.

Dillard University has laid the foundation for many creatives & through this appreciation experience, Joanna would like to also honor the university as well as celebrate DU for its HBCU legacy. Through this collaboration, Joanna Hale-McGill is donating a percentage of ticket sales back to the university as appreciation for the foundation the university has released to countless students over the years.

Before we dive into the event details, please tell me about your experience being a part of an HBCU and about your time spent at Dillard University.

Joanna: When I started it was 2002, I was pregnant in my freshman year. Everyone adopted me and my daughter as their daughter. Then Katrina hit in 2005 and the university was damaged substantially. I had to go attend school in Texas because all of my property was destroyed. But there is no place like New Orleans and you can not stay away so I came back in 2007 and finished out at Dillard in 2008. It was amazing!

The HBCU culture, especially an HBCU in New Orleans, you just can’t find that anywhere else. I made tons of life and long-lasting friendships and relationships.

Alot of the faculty and staff know who I am because I still live here locally, but to actually come back to do an event on campus at my alma mater and partner with Dillard I felt was very necessary because the music culture in New Orleans is so unique and so different. For me, this is where it started. My 6th grade graduation ceremony was at Dillard University in the chapel. Now to bring it all back full circle is so very important.

How did Sip and Sing come about?

Joanna: Sip and Sing initially started during the pandemic. Me and my good friend LeKeisha Cotten were working on a different venture and it got stalled. Both of our audiences were waiting for us to produce this production and we couldn’t. So we decided to go online and just take song requests from the people and just sing. I said, but I need my tea, I need something to sip. So we both got our mugs and went online and the people gave us song requests.

We were sipping and we were singing so we called it Sip and Sing. Every week we would have different guests, and the local artists would come on and join us as well which gave them the opportunity to promote their music. Even though it was a pandemic, it allowed them to minister and sing to the people. The guests would give us live song requests as well. One of us or both of us would sing the song. It was something to encourage, motivate, and uplift the people.

What can we expect at the Sip and Sing Event on February 4th 2023?

Joanna: This is the first Sip and Sing that we’re going to do live. When attendees purchase a ticket they can submit their song requests. We are going to take a few live requests from the audience as well. We will do that for about 45 minutes and then LeKeisha will have the chance to sing the songs from her project. I will be releasing all new music at the event.

We’ll have a fireside chat conversation with Shari’ Nycole. We have an award to give out to Dillard University’s newest President along with some other special people who will also be given awards.

Why would you recommend attending an HBCU?

Joanna: I have a 20-year-old and she is a sophomore at Jackson State University and she’s a part of the band. For her, it’s something different about that HBCU culture. Jackson State for her is like a family. They really take those kids and nurture them. It was the same thing for me at Dillard University. I tried to hide my pregnancy, but once everyone found out, they protected me and my baby.

I had my baby on December 26 2002 and when school started back on January 9th, 2003 I was sitting right there in the classroom. They made sure we had everything we needed. They donated clothes and diapers and gave me a baby shower. They did whatever they could and that’s just how it is for the HBCU culture that I experienced.

More on Sip and Sing:

Sip and Sing will be Hosted by Radio One Multimedia Personality, Co-Host of the Willie Moore Jr show and Just a Thought Podcast, Shari’ Nycole with a musical special guest, LeKeisha Cotten. The collaboration is to not only commemorate the release of Joanna’s latest album, but also to promote Dillard University creative programs; Empowering students to live out their dreams through music, mass communication, film studies, theater arts and visual arts.

This event establishes a shared mission and goals while cultivating students’ interests and preparing students and/or graduates with a dynamic skill-set to enable them to fulfill their career focus.

Tickets to the Sip & Sing are on sale now. The evening boasts general admission ticket options and student discount for Dillard University students and alumni! FOR MORE ON JOANNA HALE- MCGILL VISIT and For more information regarding tickets and location.

More About Joanna Hale-McGill:

Walmart’s next Gospel Superstar Winner, Joanna is a national recording billboard award-winning artist from New Orleans, LA. Joanna has been the featured artist for the Tom Joyner Family Reunion, at the New Orleans House of Blues, at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and at the 2022 Essence Festival. Joanna made her television premiere in Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger Season 2 and was most recently seen on BET’s Sacrifice. Joanna has become a national sought after artist.

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