Community Matters

Endea Owens, '15, believes in the power of connection, outreach and music.

After graduating from the Michigan State College of Music in 2015, Endea Owens went off to New York and The Juilliard School—where her career caught fire. She was named among the 2019 class of emerging artists by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and today is a member of Stay Human, the house band for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. She founded the Community Cookout in 2020, where she provides free meals and a free concert for communities throughout New York. The Community Cookout strives to make New York a better place through music, activism, and meals.

She joined MSU at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem in the spring of 2022 to share her story. 


Michigan State was the only college that I applied to because I wanted to be taught by Rodney [Whitaker] that bad. Without me having a full ride scholarship for all of the years I was at MSU, I wouldn't have been able to afford to actually go to college. I probably would have stopped playing music.

And I don't know. I don't know what would have happened.

So to the donors and to everyone that supports students like me, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have changed my life tremendously.

Author: Liam Boylan-Pett