Serra Cavaliers, past and present, crossed paths at the recent Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards held in Los Angeles. Junipero Serra High School alumnus, Erikk Aldridge ‘86, is the director of the STAPLES Center Foundation and coordinates the BET Youth Experience which utilizes the awards event as a youth mentoring opportunity. Rising junior, Aaron Williams ‘17, was one of 50 Los Angeles-based youth selected to take part in the unique opportunity.
The BET Youth Experience educates local high school students on the various aspects of the music and entertainment industry. Selected students, like Williams, spent three days at L.A. LIVE learning about careers in music and entertainment including event production, marketing and artist management. Students also received professional advice on personal and career development. The program was capped off by students attending the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26.
The goal of the BET Youth Experience is to provide students in Los Angeles access to real-world professional opportunities, motivate students by providing access to the industry’s top leaders and allowing students to enlarge their professional networks. Students took advantage of interacting with top business professionals and entertainers including Debra Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of BET, Dan Beckerman, chief executive officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and pop culture sensation, DJ Khaled.
Aldridge enjoyed leading the program as well as witnessing the growth opportunity for Williams and other students. “It was great to see Aaron take a leadership role within the group. Opportunities like this help youth find their voice, and who knows, one day, maybe Aaron or another student may be the CEO of BET because they found their spark here,” reflected Aldridge.
The youth experience is a community outreach partnership between BET and AEG, the parent company of STAPLES Center. The BET Awards is part of a four-day festival (June 22-26) featuring music and comedy concerts taking place at Club Nokia and STAPLES Center, “106 & Park” and the BET Fan Fest at the Los Angeles Convention Center.