In HBCU excellence news…
On Friday, Atlanta’s State Farm Arena was packed with students and alumni representing historically Black colleges and universities for the fifth annual Hawks “HBCU Night presented by Chase.”
The team celebrated the educational excellence and the unique culture of the more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in various ways including by making a $5 donation per HBCU Night ticket package to the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance.
Not only that but as the Hawks took on and ultimately dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans received a rally towel courtesy of Chase…
and enjoyed the sounds of Morehouse College’s House of Funk band at Halftime.
Led by trumpets, trombones, and french horns, the band wowed the crowd with renditions of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”, F.L.Y. ‘s “Swag Surfin'” and “F.N.F.” by rapper Glo Rilla.
The band was joined by Mahogany-N-Motion, the official dance team of Spelman and Morehouse College who shimmered in all-white while expertly executing high kicks and eight counts.
The ladies also performed alongside The ATL Hawks Dancers during a pre-game parade and after the first quarter.
The arena was also filled with celebrity HBCU Night attendees.
Proud FAMU Rattler Will Packer and his wife Heather Packer were spotted at the game…
as well as rappers/Hawks fans Quavo and Boosie.
Domani Harris was also spotted at HBCU Night and he was joined by Morehouse College professor/journalist Christopher Daniel.
After the Hawks’ 136-119 win, interim head coach Joe Prunty praised HBCU night attendees for supporting the team with the high energy that the players felt throughout the game.
“Atlanta is an amazing city and the fans here get behind their team,” said Prunty during a post-game press conference. “The people embrace their teams here and they love the Hawks and our guys tonight gave them a great effort.”
Prior to the victory, the Hawks hosted a panel presented by Chase titled “Evolving the Community: Building a Legacy” and BOSSIP was on hand to witness the HBCU excellence firsthand.
The Atlanta Hawks’ HBCU Night Pregame Panel Presented By Chase Encourages Legacy Building & HBCU Networking
The Hawks’ “Evolving the Community: Building a Legacy” featured several HBCU alumni panelists who were introduced by Aggie Pride representing Dan Ford, the chair of the National HBCU Alumni Alliance and CEO of the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance.
Moderated by FOX 5 Atlanta weekend anchor/Hampton University Alumnus Eric Perry, the panel highlighted the importance of building a sustainable legacy and invoked discussions about how to usher change in the community.
Panelists included La Keisha Johnson (Co-founder of the HBCU Culture Legacy Foundation, Johnson C. Smith University Alumna), Torian Robinson (Director of Business Development at Alkeme Health, Morehouse College Alumnus), and Rashida Winfrey (VP, Senior Business Consultant at Chase, Clark Atlanta University Alumna).
During the conversation, Winfrey told the packed house that she feels especially grateful to be able to support Black businesses via her work with Chase and noted the great purpose it gives her in her career.
“Literally I get to wake up every day and the work that I do for Chase focused on minority entrepreneurs is helping to build wealth to create even more Black excellence,” said Winfrey.
“As far as my passion meeting my purpose that is it,” she added. “My background is in finance. I have an undergraduate degree in finance, and an MBA in finance but my heart and my love is this community. Being able to connect both of those is critical and I think it’s important for people to figure out that intersection, I couldn’t wake up and be passionate about my work every day if it didn’t intersect with my heart.”
As the evening continued, Perry asked the group to reflect on their individual HBCU experiences and offer advice to current students and alumni.
Robinson who summarized his Morehouse experience as “life-changing” encouraged networking.
“Value relationships,” said Robinson. “I know you have [the] COVID [pandemic] and this digital moment so a lot of it is online, but think about being able to build true authentic relationships. As you guys progress in your careers over time, you’ll see people in different spaces and places and they’re going to lead to your next opportunity. Even when I look at my career, they were personal connections and the majority of the cases were from people who went to HBCUs.”
As for Johnson, she agreed and the Johnson C. Smith alumna also shared that she hopes businesses utilize HBCU grads to reach the community in a genuine way.
“They need to get engaged with individuals who are actually from the culture, who are actually from HBCUs, especially with these DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives they have,” said Johnson whose HBCU Culture Legacy Foundation has provided over $1.9 Million in scholarships and educational experiences to over 5,000 students since 2018, to BOSSIP.
“They’re trying to figure out how to reach audiences and there are no better individuals to ask than individuals who are actually coming from the culture who can give you real perspectives on how to reach.
“I think a lot of times where organizations miss is that they come off as disingenuous, and for our community, we’re really big on trust and where trust is, your money says a lot because what you’re willing to support financially speaks volumes and goes beyond a photo opp.
“I really want to be known as someone who gives back and helps make this community propel forward especially when you need the need,” she added. “And even if you don’t know the need, make it your business to reach out so you know where to help.”
Hawks HBCU Night didn’t end at the conclusion of the game and the pregame panel, the night’s attendees enjoyed a post-game party on the 100-level concourse featuring Atlanta entertainer and Tennessee State University alumna DJ Jazzy T.
What do YOU think about the Hawks staying #TrueToAtlanta with their fifth annual HBCU Night?
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