Atlanta, GA — HBCU Direct, LLC (HD), a marketing collective specializing in HBCU relations, formed a multi-faceted partnership with ASPiRE, the television network from Magic Johnson Enterprises, former NBA superstar Tracy “T-Mac” McGrady, and hip-hop celebrity 2 Chainz to build awareness of HBCUs and increase overall enrollment. The first effort of the strategic 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 that we can to support HBCUs in every way as they continue to provide a high quality education.”
ASPiRE delivers enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African Americans with a diverse slate, 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 2 Chainz label imprint, TRU University, will join the Hoops-N-Hip Hop tour as performers during the tour concert following each event. “2 Chainz is an Alabama State University alum that deeply cares about the HBCU community” stated David Leeks, co-owner of 2 Chainz management company Street Execs. 2Chainz played collegiate 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 U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that among 2014 U.S. high school graduates, 70.9 percent of African American graduating high school seniors had enrolled in college by October, up from 59.3 percent college enrollment rate in 2013.
Through this partnership, the five-year-old HBCU Direct follows its mission of supporting the nation’s 100+ HBCUs through with partnerships to increase revenues and/or reduce expenses. For more information about HBCU Direct, visit www.hbcudirect.com.