Pharrell Williams completely pays off Euless native’s student loan debt

Entertainer Pharrell Williams has lifted the college financial burden off of several students’ shoulders.

The “Happy” singer used Juneteenth weekend to announce he’s clearing college debt for five NAACP youth leaders who attend historically Black colleges and universities. One of those students is from North Texas.

It was an unexpected twist for North Texas Channing Hill: her student loan debt paid in full.

“It took a moment for it to really sink in,” the Howard University senior said. “And then it took another moment to realize just the impact of what that meant for me.”

Channing is one of five NAACP college student leaders still reacting to Pharrell’s gift.

“It took place in D.C. about 10 minutes away from Howard right across the street from the White House,” she said.

Channing is an aspiring criminal defense attorney originally from Euless.

The panel discussion Friday was part of Pharrell’s upcoming music festival.

 “We were there to give testimony about our experiences as Black students, as HBCU graduates,” Channing said. “Currently, I have two jobs. And just the financial burden of the cost of living in D.C. on me, my mom and my dad, it’s heavy.”

Channing’s dad is Star-Telegram Sports Writer Clarence Hill.

“If I don’t pick up, they’ll call me back to back to back. I was actually doing an interview with a Cowboys coach, and she kept calling,” Clarence said. “I said, ‘Hold on. My daughter’s calling me.’ She goes, ‘Dad! Dad! Dad! This just happened!’ She’s in tears.”

The music fest switched locations from Virginia Beach to D.C. Also, Channing would’ve been home by now.

“If that would’ve happened in Virginia Beach, she’s not even there,” Clarence said. “Then she was thinking about coming home but got this internship for the summer.”

Channing and the other panelists shared their thoughts on the national topic of student loan forgiveness, but she had no idea what Pharrell had in mind all along. 

“She didn’t know she was going to get blessed with this. She was fighting for the principle of student loan debt forgiveness,” Clarence said.

“Over $18,000. All of my loans, my federal financial aid has been wiped clean,” Channing said.

Channing says she’s very passionate about helping people in underserved communities improve their lives. She says she’ll continue to speak out in support of student loan debt forgiveness. 

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