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Honda Battle of the Bands Returns to Celebrate HBCU Culture and Marching Band Tradition

February 20, 2023 — MONTGOMERY, Ala. Six Historically Black Colleges and Universities marching bands delivered dynamic performances Rickey Smiley and Loni Love hosted the...

February 20, 2023 — MONTGOMERY, Ala.

  • Six Historically Black Colleges and Universities marching bands delivered dynamic performances
  • Rickey Smiley and Loni Love hosted the event
  • Each participating school received a $50,000 grant from Honda for music education and career development programs

Thousands of fans, students and alumni converged upon Alabama State University (ASU) on Saturday, Feb. 18 to take part in the 18th Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase (HBOB), the nation’s premiere showcase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) marching bands and dance teams. Marking its return to a live event format for the first time since 2020, HBOB also was held for the first time on an HBCU campus, featuring spectacular performances from six marching bands representing HBCUs.

This year's HBOB theme, “Driving the Legacy,” celebrated the distinct culture and heritage of HBCUs, honoring HBCU traditions and the important role these institutions play in providing higher education and opportunities for advancement to the Black community.

ASU alumnus and legendary comedian Rickey Smiley hosted the HBOB live event, while Emmy and two-time NAACP Image Award-winning host, comedian, and Prairie View A&M University alumna Loni Love hosted the HBOB livestream.

The six HBCU marching bands that performed in the 2023 HBOB Invitational Showcase included both first-time and veteran HBOB bands:

  • Alabama State University, Mighty Marching Hornets – 7th appearance
  • Langston University, Marching Pride – 4th appearance
  • Morgan State University, Magnificent Marching Machine – 1st appearance
  • Savannah State University, Powerhouse of the South – 7th appearance
  • Texas Southern University, Ocean of Soul – 3rd appearance
  • Virginia State University, Trojan Explosion – 10th appearance

The Invitational Showcase provided these marching bands with a national platform to display their talent, both live and streamed online. Each of the six bands received an all-expenses-paid trip to the HBOB Invitational Showcase. Building on Honda’s longstanding support for HBCUs, each of the six participating universities also received a $50,000 grant from Honda to support their music education and career development programs. Honda also supported nonprofit organizations within the host city of Montgomery through $100,000 in local grants and $20,000 to two nonprofit organizations that partnered with Honda on a new mural installed on the ASU campus.

In addition to the marching band performances at the 2023 Invitational Showcase, HBOB also included an HBCU College Fair hosted by ASU to connect high school students with representatives from ASU, Savannah State University and Virginia State University. The college fair enabled prospective college students to meet with marching band and admissions recruiters to discuss admissions requirements, financial aid, student life and scholarship opportunities. Students who attended the college fair received free admission to the HBOB Invitational Showcase.

For more information on HBOB, visit www.hondabattleofthebands.com. Fans can also check out HBOB highlights from the Invitational Showcase on the official HBOB social media channels:

Honda will continue its support of HBCUs with the upcoming Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), America’s premiere academic competition for HBCU students. The 2023 HCASC National Championship will be held April 15-19. Visit www.hcasc.com for more details.

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Honda and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

For over 30 years, Honda has supported the success and dreams of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students through initiatives including the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge and Honda Battle of the Bands. These programs provide unforgettable experiences and opportunities for HBCU students, including meeting and networking with peers from other HBCU schools. Honda has impacted the lives of more than 200,000 students and awarded over $14 million in grants in support of HBCU education programs and facilities improvements.

To advance its leading investment in HBCUs, Honda is a member of the HBCU Partnership Challenge, a Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus initiative that brings together government, industry and HBCUs to create strategic, more sustainable HBCU partnerships. Honda also has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide annual scholarship funding to support HBCU students pursuing an education in engineering, supply chain management and manufacturing-related fields.

About Honda Corporate Social Responsibility

For more than 60 years in the U.S., Honda has been committed to making positive contributions to the communities where its customers and associates live and work. Honda’s mission is to create products and services that improve lives while conducting business in a sustainable manner and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Advancing its corporate social responsibility, Honda and the Honda USA Foundation support this direction through giving focused on education, the environment, mobility, traffic safety and community.

Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/.

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