Generations of wealth inequality for African Americans have left historically black colleges and universities with smaller endowments. Consequently, the 107 HBCUs rely on tuition from a high percentage of low-income students for revenue. There’s a wide economic gap here that needs to be filled. There’s also an opportunity for brands to step up.
In honor of Black Music Month, Cricket Wireless and independent creative agency Mekanism, have launched a campaign spotlighting HBCU marching bands, who have stylistic traditions that have helped shape modern music and performances — you may remember Beyonce’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance that paid tribute to the HBCU experience.
Bey says, “I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. I wanted a black orchestra. I wanted the steppers.”
What Cricket Wireless wants is to be part of this critical piece of American culture. The brand’s new social campaign titled “Endless Sound” features videos of HBCU marching bands, showcasing their talent and spirit.
Cricket Wireless will be making a $24K donation, $3k for each of the eight schools gearing up for the National Battle of the Bands competition in August, and invites us all to join them in supporting “the heartbeat” of these schools by donating to them, as well.
In addition to the promotion, Cricket Wireless and Mekanism are launching an NFT featuring artwork from Nikki Moon, a Black artist, and Bowie State alum. Proceeds will be donated directly back to the HBCU Band Together Scholarship Fund and Nikki Moon.
“After years of supporting HBCU football, we wanted to be ‘all in’ on the game. And HBCU football games aren’t complete without the bands,” says Tiffany Baehman, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Cricket Wireless. “We are excited to extend our relationship to include the National Battle of the Bands.”