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Not only were the bands' incredible abilities on exhibit at the campuses, but each university also earned a $50,000 grant from Honda to support its music education and career development initiatives.

Day 24 of Black History Month

The 18th Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase (HBOB) took place over the weekend, and this year’s event was the first to be held at an HBCU (historically black colleges and universities). It also marked the first time since 2020 that it was a live event again. The event took place at Alabama State University, which is close to Honda’s auto plant in Lincoln, Alabama.

(Image: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.)

This year’s HBOB has the topic of “Driving the Legacy.” The two hosts, radio DJ Rickey Smiley (who is coming home after attending Alabama State University) and comedian Loni Love, who are both HBCU alums and have been supporting the event for numerous years, spoke before the Battle of the Bands began. Love presided over the stadium’s webcast as Smiley took center stage on the pitch. Both emphasized the significance of the occasion as well as their common HBCU experience, which had a defining influence on them. Particularly significant are marching bands, which have a long tradition at HBCUs. The marching bands, according to Smiley, set the tone for our culture.

“It starts with the marching bands. Marching bands at HBCUs historically, especially when I was a kid, just really set the tone for a lot of our culture. It’s so important, the beat, the rhythm, the dancing, it just sets the tone.”


Love mentioned that some of the football teams weren’t all that excellent and that the bands were the main draw for fans to the games. Both comedians anticipated that when the band played at halftime, everyone would go. Not only were the bands’ incredible abilities on exhibit at the campuses, but each university also earned a $50,000 grant from Honda to support its music education and career development initiatives.

Creator: Hand-out | Credit: Honda

Honda’s ongoing assistance to HBCUs helped the host city of Montgomery as well. Honda donated $20,000 to two charity groups and $100,000 to the city of Alabama in the form of local grants. Several non-profits and Honda worked together to design a fresh mural that was put up on the ASU campus. The halftime performance by another ASU alumnus, 2 Chainz, was the only diversion from admiring the brilliance of the bands.

2 CHAINZ (Creator: Hand-out | Credit: Honda)

The 2023 Invitational Showcase featured marching band performances in addition to an HBCU College Fair, which was organized by ASU and connected high school students with officials from ASU, Savannah State University, and Virginia State University. Prospective college students had the opportunity to speak with marching band and admissions recruiters at the college fair to learn more about the admissions standards, financial aid, student life, and scholarship options. The HBOB Invitational Showcase was free for students that went to the college fair.

– Steve Sijenyi


LIT604.com Is celebrating Black history month by publishing Positive news on Black people across Canada and United States throughout the month of February. Lit604 Founder Steve-Safari Sijenyi is producing and releasing a YouTube video everyday at 7pm PT that showcases Black people who embodied the spirit of Black Excellence, black-led Led Enterprises, Black-run organizations, Black allies and Pro-Black Organizations and Leaders from the public and private sector.


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