The men of Morehouse College continue to set the standard. They have tackled the world of entertainment, business and now golf.
Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper, co-founders of Eastside Golf, have partnered with financial giant, Citi, to expand on their urban golf apparel line, by way of the Action for Racial Equity Initiative.
The initiative is set to push more diversity to sports that are less popular to HBCUs. Citi’s Director of U.S. Community Relations, Michelle Thornhill, says this will be a positive impact to HBCUs and the communities they serve. “We look forward to continued investments with HBCUs and black entrepreneurs, like Earl and Olajuwon, as well as finding more meaningful engagement opportunities in the future.”
The HBCU grads swung into action with the company in 2019 and have caught the attention of famous athletes of different sports.
Their eye-catching logo, a Black man in a sweatshirt, jeans, and a thick gold chain swinging a golf club, has been worn by NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, NBA star Jayson Tatum and more. The lifestyle brand is also the first company selected to collaborate with Jordan Golf in 2021, creating the Jordan 4 Golf shoe, setting the tone to diversify the sport. “We got to diversify it [golf] and make it for everybody,” Ajanku told Sports Illustrated.
Partnering with Citi will continue to push that narrative, making the expensive sport more accessible to minorities. “We continue to use our partnerships in sports and entertainment to address changes that need to be made more accessible and inclusive,” Citi’s Head of Sponsorships, Ryan Djabbarah says. The Atlanta-based company is breaking barriers in the sport, given some racist history. Back in 1961, the Professional Golfers Association repealed a “Caucasians Only” clause. According to the Miami Herald, less than 1 percent of 29,000 PGA of America members are African-American.
Eastside is hoping to change that number while educating future Black golfers and having fun. They currently have two golfers, Wyatt Worthington II and Michael Herrera, signed to their company.