MSU Creatives set the blueprint for Morgan State athletics

From a one man band to a fully fledged multimedia department, how MSU Creatives started from the ground up.


Jordan D. Brown

MSU Creatives team gathers for a group meeting to discuss social media analytics.

Jordan D. Brown and Alex Ederson

Morgan State University’s multimedia department has seen a complete 360, taking inspiration from the content produced at top Division I universities to completely revamp the athletics’ presence of social media. 

The team leading the change? A group of nearly 20 student interns. 

It all started with Randolph Brent, a class of 2021 graduate from Morgan, who joined the athletic’s digital media department as an student intern in 2018.

A former student athlete, Brent joined the digital media team after he played one year on the university’s football team. 

“I finished playing on the football team and then I kind of started doing the creative content for the football team, doing coaches film,” Brent said. “Then they needed some highlights and pictures and things like that and it kind of bloomed from 2018 to now.”

Randy Brent, 24, is where it all began for MSU Creatives. (Jordan D. Brown)

Brent said the process of expanding the team beyond himself started by taking whoever walked through the door with a camera to shoot and was ready to work. The team grew to a group of four with student photographers Sebastian Taylor, Emmanuel Durojaiye, and Kelia Briscoe.

As the needs of the department expanded to social media, graphic design, and interviews, more student forces like Melanie Battle, Justin Cone, Jordan Martinez, and Tobechi Mezu joined the group.

With this solid foundation, the group cultivated MSU Creatives, a brand to solidify the team as the creators within the athletics’ multimedia department and unify all of their work.

“This year was really kind of where we locked in and we were like, okay, we got something here, we started to work out the kinks. This is where we really wanted to set ourselves apart and make our voice heard on campus as we are an official entity of this school, of this athletics department,” Brent said.

Since MSU Creatives launched, the university’s athletic pages on social media have dominated across platforms. Even beyond the university’s most popular sports of basketball and football, teams like volleyball, bowling and tennis have seen increased engagement.

The football team’s Twitter account is the highest-followed page under the athletic department with 18,800 followers.

Cimone Austin, social media manager for the athletic department, said the most special thing about this year is the increased coverage for all of Morgan’s sports.

The class of 2022 Morgan graduate said, “I think in the past, we didn’t really necessarily cover every single sport and this year we covered every single sport. Volleyball was one of them that I’m really proud about because I don’t feel like volleyball had a lot of media coverage in past years, but we made it a goal to cover volleyball.”

The @msucreatives page on Instagram was created in the fall semester to start off football season and create a place to publish students’ work outside of the athletics’ pages.

“Back in the fall, we started the page and it was really just as kind of an ever evolving portfolio and resume for them, for the students to showcase their work. Let people know who are the names and faces behind the camera that they may see on game day and see putting out all this dope content,” Brent said.

The official Instagram account for the athletic program’s multimedia and marketing team, @msucreatives, has seen new heights on the platform since its launch in November.

So far, their page has earned almost 400 followers and the Instagram reach expanded to 18,750 users.

“You put in the work, you’re going to get rewarded”

As only a select of the MSU Creatives interns are paid, most interns start off unpaid. Martinez, a senior multimedia journalism major, moved up from an unpaid intern to a paid position, and credits her dedication to the team for her promotion.

“I was coming to every event, every basketball game, going to football workouts, and kind of like earn my spot to get paid and to show that I wanted to be here and to do and just to be a part of the team. And honestly it paid off,” Martinez said.

Taylor, a sophomore multiplatform production major, said it was a challenge to stay motivated while working for no money, but he kept his main goal of elevating sports through his content at the forefront of his mind.

“So for me it got hard to stay motivated sometimes, because it’s like well  I’m not getting this, my photos aren’t being tagged, this that and the third. But I realized that it was bigger. than me. The main reason why I started to join was to put HBCU sports on the map. That’s bigger than Sebastian Taylor, and whatever money or agenda or tag,” Taylor said. 

“I think as I got more involved, more committed it became how can I elevate Morgan State sports? How can this be the best it could be? That was the motivation, it wasn’t the money,” Taylor said.

His mindset on the matter was if students put in the work now, they’ll get rewarded later.

Randy Brent and Tobechi Mezu work closely on selecting the right photos for the graphic designs. (Jordan D. Brown)

How to Join

MSU Creatives opens applications for new members each semester, widening its scope to students with years of experience in content creation and even those who may have no experience in camera work at all.

Durojaiye, a sophomore engineering major, was new to the art of photography when he joined in the fall of his freshman year.  He considered himself to always have a “passion for capturing and creating art” but was not involved in photography prior to joining MSU Creatives.

“I started my freshman year. It just kind of happened by chance where I just walked into the field house, and the sports marketing team was promoting students to come out and work with the sports marketing aspect of the athletics department,” Durojaiye said.

This is where Durojaiye was introduced to Brent, who loaned him his old camera to work with initially. He built up his portfolio through his work with the Creatives while also getting the ability to help lift a fledgling organization off the ground.

“I asked if they were looking for any photographers and videographers and they said yes. At that time, I didn’t really have much experience but I just offered it regardless …That was the first time I met Randy …I offered my assistance in any way that I could and just slowly built the team from there,” Durojaiye said.

Cone, a junior computer science major, had experience prior to joining MSU Creatives. He transferred to Morgan from Prairie View A&M for his junior year after not being able to unleash his creative freedoms at his previous school. He was involved with his news media team in high school and decided that coming to Morgan would give him the opportunity he yearned for.

“I originally wasn’t going to transfer here. It took a lot of convincing from James and I had ended up getting a freelancing contract with ESPN. So that’s a reason why I came back and then I (had) seen Morgan State…as an opportunity to grow as a person,” Cone said. 

In the early stages, Brent needed all the help he could gather while putting his team together. He was accepting people with any amount of experience while trying to gather more support for what would become the MSU Creatives.

“To start, it was really kind of like whoever walked in the door and said they had a camera, who knew how to shoot,” Brent said.

After the hirings of Martinez and Battle, Brent went in the direction of a more formal application process. He wanted to make sure that he was getting students who were  committed to advancing the Creatives and were willing to put the work in, in the classroom and in their professional lives. The requirements that are expected in this application are what you would expect from any other professional internship.

“Portfolio, resume… a cover letter as well, transcripts and things like that…I want to know that you do well in the classroom, as well as creatively,” said Brent.

Mezu, a senior multiplatform production major, was one of the first applicants through MSU Creatives formal application process. She had heard about the opportunity from a friend of hers within the sports marketing department and went through the application process.

“I heard about the opportunity through my friend Kennedy, who was part of the marketing team. She told me about the digital media team and that I should apply…I also saw posts on Instagram about it, so I decided to apply. I turned in my resume, a demo reel. I actually interviewed with Randy and I talked to Mel [Melanie Battle] as well,” Mezu said. 

Looking Towards the Future

MSU Creatives has given students the ability to follow their passions as well as experience for the professional world. Before joining MSU Creatives, Battle, a senior multimedia journalism major and social media manager, was unsure what she wanted to do after she graduated. She had wanted to use her creative abilities in other ways, but realized that being around sports is something that she wanted.

“This [social media management] is something that I want to pursue… As I’ve been in college, I haven’t really known exactly what I wanted to do… I’m a journalism major, so I thought I wanted to write, I wanted to be an editor of a magazine…I realized quickly that’s not what I wanted to do…I think I found it through working in this department,” Battle said.

Taylor found that his passion for sports drove him towards joining the team and it’s pushing towards his future. He hopes to one day “shoot for the NBA” He played sports throughout his childhood, but it was not until he became a photographer for the MSU Creatives did he realize he could turn his passion into a career. 

“I kind of joined because I wasn’t ready to get rid of my sports. I started to be involved,  and so I never really thought about working in sports when I was playing it,” Taylor said.

He credits his mom for pushing him to find something to do with his love of sports and photography in general. 

“My mom would always talk about [working in sports]…she did photography [and] had a camera that came down from her family…[She] gave it to me and I was like, ‘let’s do something,’” Taylor said.

Prior to the Creatives, there was no department for sports media so teams were apprehensive at first when granting access to Brent and his team.

“We … had some teams that were a little opposed to it because…they just never had it. They didn’t know what it looked like…hence the name that we chose to give ourselves and be that blueprint to…then hand over to coaches and administration [and] say hey, this is what we’re doing,” Brent said. 

The next step for the Creatives is getting institutional support from the athletics department. Brent has been working to “get his foot in the door” of the various sports teams at Morgan.

“We have a purpose here and I think the rest of the department is starting to see and respect that…the biggest thing that they have done to support us is just give us more access. They know about us, so it’s like now that we’re here we need the access and we need you guys’ [athletic department] cooperation to let us help you put your sport out there and promote your program and things like that,” Brent said.