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Budding Entrepreneurs from East Orange Shined at Lauryn Hill's 25th Anniversary Tour

East Orange

By: Richard L. Smith 

In an exceptional opportunity, a group of aspiring entrepreneurs from the East Orange Mayor's Office of Employment and Training SWEP (Summer Work Experience) Program geared up for a Pop-Up Shop extravaganza at the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary Tour at the Prudential Center in Newark Tuesday night. 

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This unprecedented event saw 22 young, burgeoning moguls set up shop along the concourse of the highly-anticipated concert, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

The invitation to participate was generously extended by none other than the world-renowned Grammy award-winning icon herself, Ms. Lauryn Hill.

The invitation resulted from Ms. Hill's visit to East Orange City Hall Plaza this past August when she attended SWEP's summer close-out event to witness her son, Joshua Marley, perform.

Lauren Hill

Impressed by the students' innovation, creativity, and hard work, Ms. Hill decided to leverage her influential platform to promote their micro-businesses.

These businesses will feature various items, including clothing, customized sneakers, natural beauty products, art, accessories, and more.

Mayor Ted R. Green expressed deep appreciation, saying, "It is such an incredible honor to have one of East Orange's own—the amazingly gifted and prolific Ms. Lauryn Hill—offer our students this remarkable chance to shine. An advocate for self-love, peace, and social consciousness, Ms. Hill has always been a huge supporter of our city's progress, which is inextricably linked to the success of our youth.

Our SWEP program is designed to not only prepare our young people with hands-on work training but also to empower them through mentorship and community support.

Lauren Hill

What an extraordinary experience it was for our children to have the support of Lauryn Hill, one of the most influential artists of our time."

The participating students, the majority of whom hail from East Orange, with several residents from Newark, were part of the SWEP's Teen Entrepreneurship Program.

This program operates under the leadership of MOET Manager LaDonna Johns, Esq., with the guidance of Dr. Jamila T. Davis, a close friend and colleague of Lauryn Hill.

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Dr. Davis shared her excitement, stating, "I was blown away when Ms. Hill reached out to support our students.

Not only did she come out to our SWEPFest and encourage our students to go after their dreams, but she also followed up and offered them the opportunity to display their businesses at her concert. It's an opportunity that they will never forget."

Lauren HILL