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The Hilltop Photographers Share “Favorite Photos” from 2023-2024 Academic School Year

Hilltop photographers reflect and present the photos they took this year that inspired them, helped them grow and made an impact.

The Hilltop photographers and multimedia editor, Juan Benn Jr., hold their work in print outside the Hilltop’s office on April 26. 

While The Hilltop is the student voice of Howard University, its photographers are the eyes of the paper. They document everything on campus and beyond from protests to Yardfest, transporting our readers to the story. 

As the school year ends, we asked The Hilltop photographers to share their favorite photos they captured this year. A few explained their choices. Scroll through and learn about the story behind the photo. 

Jacob Hanesworth

A community member leads the crowd in a song in which the lyrics include, “Palestine needs her freedom, Palestine needs our love.” (Jacob Hanesworth/The Hilltop)

Students, Community Members Rally Against Israel Attacks On Gaza

“I chose to feature this image as it encapsulates the spirit of activism pervasive within the Howard student community. While protests at Howard are not uncommon, this particular demonstration stands out for its broader societal relevance,” he said. “Rather than focusing solely on issues directly affecting students, such as housing or financial aid, this protest reflects a collective stance against injustice on a global scale. The unity displayed by students, rallying around a shared ideology reaffirms my decision to be a part of this passionate and socially conscious student body.

The 2023 Howard University Truth and Service football game against Hampton University. (Jacob Hanesworth/The Hilltop)

OPINION: Who’s The “Real HU” And Why It Matters

“Among the myriad of events and sports I’ve had the privilege to capture, football holds a special place with me. Football introduced me to photography,” he said. “Through taking photos of nearly every game of my high school football team, I gained the necessary skills to progress in my passion. In that time, I’ve captured every leap, sprint, catch, and tackle imaginable, but I have never gotten a photo quite like this one. It truly gives me an “accidental Renaissance” feeling every time I view it.”

Howard University President Ben Vinson III in a 2023 sit-down interview with The Hilltop after beginning his tenure on Sept. 1. (Jacob Hanesworth/The Hilltop)

This Historian Wants Howard To Reach Its Full Potential. As President, Here’s How He Plans To Make It Happen.

“One of my earliest assignments with The Hilltop was taking photos of the newly inaugurated Howard University President Ben Vincent III during a one-on-one interview with campus editor JD Jean-Jacques. Truthfully, I was incredibly nervous that I’d somehow mess up such a simple task, and I nearly did by accidentally leaving my camera in the lobby after going up the elevator,” Hanesworth said. “Once I settled my nerves though (and retrieved my camera), I took this photo. What I like about this photo is the lack of focus on Vincent himself and instead his hand, tea, and small mint candy. A reminder that even those in large positions of authority enjoy the smaller pleasures in life.”

Washington Wizards guard Bilal Coulibaly hangs on the rim during HBCU & D9 night at Capitol One Arena. (Jacob Hanesworth/The Hilltop)

Washington Wizards Host HBCU And Divine 9 Night

“While I try not to over-represent the sports photography portion of my portfolio, this photo speaks for itself. Simply put, it is awesome,” he said.

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Nolan Baynes II

In The Crowd During Howard University’s 2023 Homecoming Yardfest Concert 

Members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., including current Howard student Miles Hunt, pose in the rain during Yardfest 2023. (Nolan Baynes II/The Hilltop)

Before The Show: A Behind The Scenes Look At The 2023 Homecoming Fashion Show

Sophomore model, Britney Celamy poses outside the styling room before she hits the runway. (Nolan Baynes II/The Hilltop)

Young, Wild And Free: Darties At Howard University

Howard students gather, dancing in unison at a darty located at Banneker Park in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20, 2022. (Photo by Nolan Baynes II.)

Photo Essay: “I Don’t Feel Like Much Of A Minority”: The Non-Black Student Howard Experience

Andre De Santos applied to schools other than Howard but wanted to be in an academic environment where he’d be valued as a student of color. (Nolan Baynes II/The Hilltop)

Emmarah Kouadio

Commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month At Howard

Zhané Gomez-Bravo, a senior political science major and Spanish minor, poses for a photo during a meeting for Changó, Howard University’s Afro-Latine Student Association and Spanish-Speaking Society. (Emmarah Kouadio/The Hilltop) 

Photo Essay: Look Up! Howard University Students Witness Historic Solar Eclipse

A group of students wearing their special solar eclipse glasses while sitting on the Yard to watch the eclipse on Monday, April 8. Experts recommend that people wear these kinds of glasses to protect their eyes from radiation and possible damage. (Emmarah Kouadio/The Hilltop) 

Howard’s Dining Staff To Receive Higher Pay, More Benefits After Reaching Agreement With Sodexo

Hollis Coates, a cashier at Bethune-Annex Cafe, held her hand against her chest, as students rallied behind Sodexo worker’s contract negotiations. (Emmarah Kouadio/The Hilltop)

Keith Golden Jr.

Jazmine Mangrum, a 21-year-old senior acting major and mom, in the College of Fine Arts on Sept. 20 (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

For Students With Children, Education Has Become A ‘Juggling Act’

“The story of being a black mother is big in itself but being a black mother and a college student makes it even bigger. It is one of the most powerful things, showcasing the enduring strength of black women,” Golden said. “Hearing Mangrum’s story and seeing the love and care she has for her child made this my all-time favorite story to take photos of.”

Atlanta rapper, Offset, performing at the Homecoming Yardfest Concert on October 20, 2023. (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

In The Crowd During Howard University’s 2023 Homecoming Yardfest Concert 

“I waited patiently to get this shot of Offset looking straight into the camera. Covering homecoming for The Hilltop proved to me that I have started to make real strides toward my passion in life and my storytelling abilities,” he said. 

A woman wears a “UNITE Here Local 23” t-shirt. Local 23 is the union that represents Sodexo cafeteria employees. (Keith Golden Jr./The Hilltop)

Photo Essay: ‘Don’t Bite The Hands That Feed You,’ Students And Staff Strike Against Sodexo 

“My purpose in this world is my visual storytelling work. Being able to represent the voice of Howard University through my lens at The Hilltop has brought me fulfillment,” he said. “This woman is a Sodexo worker who is protesting because she has faced mistreatment in the workplace. Hearing her story and everyone at the protest chant the words on that sign is the reason this photo is one of my favorites.”

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Student and faculty leaders read a call and response to the crowd at Mohamed Samura’s vigil on the Yard on April 15. (Keith Golden Jr/The Hilltop)

Howard Community Gathers To Mourn Death Of Freshman Mohamed Samura 

“This photo was taken during a call and response at a campus vigil for freshman Mohamed Samura. It looks like everyone is praying together which, to me, gives the photo a heavier perspective,” Golden said. “It shows the true love the Howard community has for each other.”

Kennedi Armour

Softball Head Coach Finds Purpose In Bringing Success To Several Programs

Howard University’s women’s softball team practices batting with coach Tori Tyson. (Kennedi Armour/The Hilltop)

Insights From Howard Candidates On The Election Journey

Bria Nartey poses for a photo with one of her running mates, Daunté Evans. (Kennedi Armour/The Hilltop)

‘The Greatest Incubator Of Black Talent In Sports’: Inside Howard University’s Basketball Staff

Howard’s men’s basketball team practices shooting drills in Burr Gymnasium. (Kennedi Armour/The Hilltop)

‘The Greatest Incubator Of Black Talent In Sports’: Inside Howard University’s Basketball Staff

Howard’s men’s basketball team practices in Burr Gymnasium ahead of 2023-2024 season. (Kennedi Armour/The Hilltop)

Tionne Thornton

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Bring Their Founders To Life With Wax Figure Exhibit

A woman takes photos at Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. founders’ day event, featuring wax statues of famous members. (Tionne Thornton/The Hilltop)

Howard’s Next Student Leaders Revealed After Weeks Of Campaigning

Students get emotional as the results of the 2024 student elections are revealed in front of Douglass Hall on March 29. (Tionne Thornton/The Hilltop)

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Bring Their Founders To Life With Wax Figure Exhibit

A woman poses for a photo at Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. founders’ day event, featuring wax statues of famous members. (Tionne Thornton/The Hilltop)

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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