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Hennessy and Thurgood Marshall College Fund Announce partnership

The new collaboration will provide unprecedented access to the early works of Jean-Michel Basquiat at six HBCU campuses from now through December

NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2022 -- Today, Hennessy and Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announce a new collaboration with Brooklyn-Based, The Bishop Gallery and Group Black, the largest collective of Black-owned media, to bring the "Our Friend Jean" Exhibition to six Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide. The HBCU campus tour of the exhibition includes Hampton University, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Tennessee State University, Dillard University, and Texas Southern University.

Jean-Michel Basquiat “Blue” Mix Media on Paper (Authenticated by the Estate Of Jean-Michel Basquiat).

From now through December 7, 2022, HBCU students will be able to participate in gallery programs such as private tours, talks with curators and collectors, and special immersive experiences designed at each school. "Our Friend, Jean" was first curated and exhibited by The Bishop Gallery in 2019 in the artist's hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. In conjunction with collector Alexis Adler, Gallerist & Curators Erwin John and Stevenson Dunn, Jr. developed this exhibition and tour in their continued mission to make the arts more accessible to underrepresented groups.

"Since the inception of our Hennessy Fellows Program in 2019, we've worked with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to advance educational pathways for Black students nationwide and encourage them to push the limits of their potential," said Jasmin Allen, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. This new commitment allows us to continue that mission and reach more HBCU campuses, providing students with access to renowned art and culture."

"Our Friend, Jean" is a curated collection of 20 plus artworks on loan from collectors who knew Jean-Michel as friends, lovers, and collaborators. The collectors consist of Jane Diaz, Hilary Jaeger, Katie Taylor, and Lucy Sante, and also include photographer Alexis Adler, who was Basquiat's friend and roommate, and Al Diaz, Co-Creator of SAMO©. Adler's rare photographs collection shines a light on Basquiat's personal life, and they will be sharing their remembrances and untold stories about their friendship with Basquiat throughout the week at each location. Hennessy and TMCF will also host an exclusive experience celebrating Black excellence and the legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat in each tour city.

"The exhibition will highlight some of the earliest artworks created by America's most influential artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. His massive influence on pop culture and record-breaking sales continue to dominate the art world, as he remains one of the most sought-after artists in history," Stevenson Dunn, Jr., Co-Owner of The Bishop Gallery. "During the immersive gallery experience, there will be live discussions with Basquiat's close friends and people who knew him personally. These stories will hopefully help students gain insight into Jean-Michel's early influences and creative inspirations."

Group Black has quickly become a major player in the media space, known for creating custom opportunities and scaled distribution for Black-owned media and creators that would not otherwise be available. With this experience, Group Black is working with The Bishop Gallery to create a unique opportunity to authentically connect the students and culture at HBCU's with the inspiring works of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"It is essential that we amplify diverse creativity," said Bonin Bough, co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer. "By partnering with The Bishop Gallery to bring Jean-Michel Basquiat's artwork to HBCU's across the country it is our hope that it inspires the next generation of culture creators."

To date, Hennessy has committed $14 million over 10 years to TMCF, through the Hennessy Fellows program, which has helped to increase the visibility of HBCU talent to take on leadership roles across major organizations in North America. As of 2022, more than 30 Hennessy Fellows have successfully completed the program and progressed into full-time employment. Now, Hennessy and TMCF are able to support The Bishop Gallery with Group Black in engaging and educating more HBCU students about "Our Friend, Jean" Exhibition, eliminating previous barriers to access and creating more equity in the arts community.

The tour began at Hampton University last week Friday and new tour dates will be announced throughout the fall and winter. For media interviews and press inquiries, please contact Sabrina Browne at For additional information about the tour, please contact


The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its exceptional blends for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy's spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries. Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy, the standard-bearer for a sector rich in expertise. The House's success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission from generation to generation. The first wine and spirits house to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the support of all its partners to protect this exceptional area. As the crown jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide ambassador for the French art de vivre.

Hennessy is imported and distributed in the U.S. by Moët Hennessy USA. Hennessy distills, ages and blends spanning a full range: Hennessy V.S, V.S.O.P, X.O, Privé, Paradis, Paradis Imperial and Richard Hennessy. Imported Cognac Hennessy® 40% Alc./Vol. (80º), ©2022 Imported by Moët Hennessy USA, Inc., New York, NY.


Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation's largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly- supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit:


The Bishop Gallery was founded in 2009 by Erwin S. John and Stevenson A. Dunn, Jr.; the Bed-Stuy gallery is committed to making the arts accessible. In 2016 The Bishop Gallery became the first Gallery outside of the Brooklyn Museum to show a solo exhibition of Basquiat in his hometown of Brooklyn in over 30 years. The Bishop Gallery has produced a total of 6 public solo exhibitions with artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat, including two which were featured on the front page of "The Art Newspaper" during Art Basel (Switzerland, 2018) and Miami Art Basel (Miami, 2016). They most recently organized a gift of the first Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Bishop Gallery plans to bring a permanent collection of Basquiat's work to Brooklyn, making his work forever accessible in JMB's hometown.


Group Black is where culture calls home. Group Black's objective is to build the largest collective of Black-owned media and diverse creators by actively deepening the pipeline of media dollars allocated to Black-owned media businesses and by investing in the next generation of innovative and equitable media. It is composed of two divisions, Group Black Media and Group Black Ventures, with the simple mission to dramatically transform the face of media investment and ownership. Group Black seeks to connect a diverse generation looking for content and experiences that reflect who they are. Learn more at


Jenay Alejandro, Communications Director, Hennessy

SOURCE Hennessy

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