This year’s HBCU homecoming season was unlike anything ever before, but students, faculty and alumni still came together to celebrate virtually across the country. To honor the spirit and camaraderie of the HBCU community, Pepsi, in partnership with “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio,” is bringing together the exceptional marching bands from Florida A&M, Hampton University, Prairie View A&M and North Carolina A&T – some of whom are traditionally rivals – to create a unified virtual musical event. “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is voiced by award-winning entertainer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and current HBCU student Megan Thee Stallion, and media mogul and cultural architect Charlamagne tha God, and serves as a reminder of the longstanding fall traditions among HBCUs, which typically bring communities around the country together for an unmatched celebration at the intersection of culture, community, music and football.
Pepsi – a brand with a rich history in music, sports and entertainment – worked collaboratively with iHeartMedia and the four HBCU band directors and their marching bands to curate a first-of-its-kind, tour-de-force virtual performance featuring a cross-generational arrangement of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Move on Up” and Megan Thee Stallion’s chart-topping hit “Savage.”
“It is such an honor to be part of bringing the spirit and energy of HBCU homecoming performances to life for the students and alumni that won’t be able to see it in person this year,” said Megan Thee Stallion. “HBCUs foster an incredible musical culture – one that helped me develop my career – so to be a part of ‘iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience’ and champion that love for music with these bands is truly special.”
The virtual experience celebrates a month-long “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio,” which kicked off October 19, as a series of inspiring events designed to shine a light on HBCU pride, Black excellence and student achievement through uplifting, high-energy celebrations across multiple iHeartRadio platforms. The “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is available on Pepsi.com/HBCUexperience and the Pepsi brand’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“The impact of 2020 has upended a number of events and traditions across the country, including one of the most cherished and anticipated events within the HBCU community – homecoming,” said Todd Kaplan, Vice President, Marketing, Pepsi. “We wanted to create something special that gave these marching bands the opportunity to perform for the students, faculty, alumni, friends and families that are not able to celebrate homecoming in person this year. This virtual performance is a unifying celebration of HBCUs and a chance to show our love, appreciation and support for these incredible music programs that, year after year, bring so much joy to so many around the country.”
The “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is part of the Pepsi brand’s ongoing effort to amplify and spotlight Black voices and Black excellence. Pepsi is also committing resources to support HBCU music programs – including refurbished equipment, scholarships, grants and more – to ensure a continuation of the traditions and opportunities are presented to current and future students at HBCUs. This commitment is only one part of PepsiCo’s larger action plan in expanding recruitment efforts with HBCUs and increasing the brand’s partnerships with diverse organizations at these prestigious institutions.
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