Saweetie returns to her alma mater to talk about entrepreneurship

The American rapper went back to professor Albert Napoli’s class, to talk to students about the importance of aspirations and hard work.

Saweetie in professor Albert Napoli's class. (Photo by Michael Melinger.)

Professor Albert Napoli’s class was in for a surprise this Wednesday, Feb. 23. American rapper and USC alumna Saweetie visited the class as a guest lecturer, speaking on business entrepreneurship.

Napoli, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship at the Marshall business school, said they have remained in touch over the years since she graduated. She is also a frequent guest speaker in his classes because, according to her professor, she thinks and behaves like an entrepreneur, expressing her insights and motivating the students in the class she was once part of.

“I feel like a proud father,” Napoli said. “I’m really proud of her drive and determination to get to where she’s going.”

Saweetie graduated from USC in 2016 as a communications major from the Annenberg school at USC. During her time at the university, she juggled multiple jobs. She made T-shirts for her brand “Money Makin’ Mamis”, worked jobs at the Marshall school and at a sports bar. She also put several hours into research projects.

Isa Johnson, a Journalism major at Annenberg, asked Saweetie whether being back in the class after all these years was a surreal experience.

Saweetie said it is not. She always knew she would come back.

“I remember, Albert would always say, ‘there’s the high growth, high places and it’s always the greatest students that come back to talk. And I was thinking, I’m going to be one of those students,’ Saweetie said.

This was not her first time speaking in the class. During her time as a student, Napoli and Saweetie would talk about the pursuit of her dreams. He talked her out of submitting her resume to Deloitte or “one of those big companies” that would “kill her soul.”.

“Let’s go ahead and follow your dream,” he told her. “And she did. And she’s become literally world famous,” he added.

Shaye Hendricks, a major in Real Estate Development, minoring in entrepreneurship like Saweetie, said that Professor Napoli taught the artist back when she called herself Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper. He reminded her she would always be his student.

“She’s very supportive of USC students and giving back to the Trojan network, which is really nice,” said Hendricks.”She was actually very calm, very grounded. She really likes to relax and take time for herself and deep down she’s an introvert.”

The class also had a Q/A session, where Saweetie answered students’ questions. She shed light on imposter syndrome and she said there were times she felt like she was her worst enemy. She battled it by reminding herself that “our energies, thoughts and feelings are within our control and we are our own masters.”

Napoli said she told the class that having dreams is good but putting in work and research while being persistent is imperative. He said she might return to the class this semester, despite being busy with her music career.

Isa Johnson and Jackson Bry contributed to this report.