HBCU Direct L.L.C., a marketing collective specializing in HBCU relations, has formed a multifaceted partnership with ASPiRE, the television network from Magic Johnson Enterprises; former NBA superstar Tracy “T-Mac” McGrady; and hip-hop celebrity 2Chainz, to build awareness of HBCUs and increase overall enrollment. The first effort of the alliance is the September 2015 launch of a 20-campus Hoops-N-Hip Hop® Tour reaching 100,000 black college students.
“The partnership provides a huge opportunity to use our voices to support the efforts of the nation’s 105 HBCUs to build awareness and attract talent,” said seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady. “HBCUs are a cornerstone of our community, having graduated some of the most notable African Americans across the spectrum, including medicine, technology, the arts, sports, and beyond. With more African Americans entering college today than ever before, it is imperative that we do all we can to support HBCUs as they continue to provide a high-quality education.”
ASPiRE delivers enlightening, entertaining, and positive programming to African Americans, including live and encore HBCU football and basketball games featuring member schools of the CIAA and SIAC conferences.
“Through this unique collaboration, ASPiRE will continue to capture the positive lifestyle on HBCU campuses and present the authentic and aspirational images from the HBCU experience to our viewing audience,” said ASPiRE Senior Director of Business Affairs and Development, Melissa Ingram. “Providing positive programming for African Americans is at the core of who we are, and this partnership is an extension of that mission.”
Members of 2Chainz label imprint, TRU University, will join the Hoops-N-Hip Hop tour as performers during the tour concert following each event. “2Chainz is an Alabama State University alum that deeply cares about the HBCU community,” stated David Leeks, co-owner of 2Chainz management company, Street Execs. 2Chainz played basketball at ASU.
“This partnership perfectly aligns with our mission of servicing and creating positive awareness of HBCUs,” added Rod Chappell, CEO and executive director of HBCU Direct. “Collectively, HBCUs need more support in marketing and awareness to increase revenues through enrollment and fundraising. The statistics regarding increased college enrollment for African American students are encouraging, and we have to do all that we can to make sure that HBCUs are strong benefactors of this increase.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that among 2014 U.S. high school graduates, 70.9% of African American graduating high school seniors had enrolled in college by October, up from 59.3% college enrollment rate in 2013.
Through this partnership, the 5-year-old HBCU Direct follows its mission of supporting the nation’s 100+ HBCUs with partnerships to increase revenues or reduce expenses. For more information about HBCU Direct, visit www.hbcudirect.com.