MEAC, ESPN TO AGAIN STREAM GAMES ON ESPN3, ESPN+

NORFOLK, Va., July 8, 2019 – As part of a multi-year agreement reached last year, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and ESPN will stream all of the conference’s football contests on ESPN3 and ESPN+, the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.

There will be 34 MEAC football contests available on ESPN3 and ESPN+ this season, in addition to 10 televised contests on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, which gives the conference 44 total linear and digital broadcasts across the ESPN family of networks.

This season, the MEAC will implement instant replay for all football games starting with the first conference game of the 2019 season, which will be Saturday, Sept. 21, when Howard visits Delaware State. The following Saturday, Sept. 28, will be the first full weekend of conference play.

“I am elated to once again utilize ESPN3 and ESPN+ in continuing to grow the MEAC’s relationship with ESPN,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas. “Both ESPN3 and ESPN+ are innovative digital platforms upon which we can better serve our member institutions and our fans, while also expanding our reach both from a conference perspective and at the institutional level. This is an exciting time for college sports, with the expansion of digital content, and we are pleased that the MEAC has been on the forefront with ESPN3 and ESPN+.”

ESPN3 is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through the ESPN app. The network is currently available nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.

Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ on ESPN.com or through the ESPN app for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year).

The MEAC-ESPN agreement continues to add additional exposure to the conference, which has collaborated with ESPN since 2005. The ESPN+ football contests add to an already impressive lineup, as the ESPN networks carry multiple men’s basketball, baseball and softball regular-season contests. The MEAC volleyball and bowling championship finals are also televised on various ESPN platforms.

About the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) begins its 49th year of intercollegiate competition with the 2019-20 academic school year. Located in Norfolk, Va., the MEAC is made up of 11 outstanding historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline: Bethune-Cookman University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University.

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached two million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC and Top Rank boxing events, top domestic and international soccer, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com. They are the industry-leading all-in-one digital sports platform, delivering a rich, personalized experience to tens of millions of fans every month.

About ESPN3

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually.  It is accessible on ESPN.com and the ESPN app across computers, smartphones, tablets and connected streaming devices.  The network is available at no additional cost to fans who receive pay TV subscription from an affiliated provider. The network is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

MEAC ANNOUNCES 2019 FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

NCAT Picked to Win 2019 MEAC Championship

NORFOLK, Va., July 26, 2019 – North Carolina A&T State University has been picked to defend its MEAC football championship, as the Aggies topped the league’s annual preseason poll for 2019. Voting for the poll was conducted by the MEAC’s nine head coaches and football sports information directors.

The Aggies received 12 first-place votes and were selected to defend their MEAC title and represent the league in the Celebration Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Atlanta, Ga. The Aggies, led by 2018 MEAC Coach of the Year Sam Washington, won consecutive outright MEAC championships in 2017 and 2018, capturing the title in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1991-92.

 

According to the MEAC coaches and football SIDs, Bethune-Cookman, with one first-place vote, is predicted to place second under the direction of veteran head coach Terry Sims, followed by Florida A&M (two first-place votes) in third place and Howard in fourth.

 

North Carolina Central (one first-place vote) has been picked fifth, followed by South Carolina State, Norfolk State (one first-place vote), Morgan State (one first-place vote) and Delaware State.

 

Here is the MEAC predicted order of finish for 2019 (first-place votes in parentheses):

  1. North Carolina A&T State (12)
  2. Bethune-Cookman (1)
  3. Florida A&M (2)
  4. Howard
  5. North Carolina Central (1)
  6. South Carolina State
  7. Norfolk State (1)
  8. Morgan State (1)
  9. Delaware State

 

 

About the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) begins its 49th year of intercollegiate competition with the 2019-20 academic school year. Located in Norfolk, Va., the MEAC is made up of 11 outstanding historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline: Bethune-Cookman University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University.

SWAC Announces 2019 Preseason All-SWAC Football Teams

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2019 All-SWAC Preseason teams and Predicted Order of Finish on Tuesday at Football Media Day with Alcorn State and Southern tabbed to finish in first place in the Eastern and Western divisions respectively in a vote conducted by the leagues’ Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors.

Alcorn State led all SWAC programs with a total of 14 selections on the All-SWAC Preseason First and Second teams. Prairie View A&M came in second in the number of Preseason All-Conference selectons with a total of eight student-athletes.

Alcorn State’s Noah Johnson (pictured above far right) was named the 2019 SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after an impressive 2018 campaign in which he led the Braves to a SWAC Championship title and Celebration Bowl appearnace. In three seasons, Johnson ranks eighth all-time in school history in touchdown passes (30), ninth in passing yards (4,018) and 10th in rushing yards (1,867).

In 2018, he threw for 2,207 yards and 15 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns. Johnson ranked third in the nation in rushing yards per carry (7.5) and 16th in completion percentage (.621).

Soloman Muhammad (pictured above far left) also from Alcorn State, was tabbed the leagues’ 2019 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after also being named a 2018 HBCU All-American and a 2018 SWAC All-Conference First-Team honoree.

He finished second on the team in tackles with 64 despite missing two games. He also wrapped up 4.0 sacks and 9.0 tackles for a loss. It came after a breakout year in 2017 where he notched 52 tackles in just seven games including 6.5 tackles for a loss, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

Alabama A&M, Jackson State, Alabama State, and Mississippi Valley State round out the predicted order of finish in the SWAC’s Eastern Division.

In the SWAC’s Western Division, Prairie View A&M, Grambling State, Texas Southern, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff were tabbed to finish in second, third, fourth, and fifth place respectively.

A complete listing of the 2019 Preseason All-SWAC Football teams can be found below.

2019 Preseason All-SWAC Football Teams

SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year- Noah Johnson

SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year- Soloman Muhammad

Preseason First Team
Offense
QB Noah Johnson Alcorn State
RB Taeyler Porter Arkansas-Pine Bluff
RB De’Shawn Waller Alcorn State
OL DeJohn Jones Prairie View A&M
OL Deonte Brroks Alcorn State
OL Mustaffa Ibrahim Alcorn State
OL Jodeci Harris Southern
OL Kevin Hall Alcorn State
WR Tristen Wallace Prairie View A&M
WR DeJuan Miller Arkansas-Pine Bluff
TE Kendric Johnson Alabama A&M

 

Defense
DL Jordan Lewis Southern
DL Christian Clark Alabama State
DL Jalen Steward Arkansas-Pine Bluff
DL Anferenee Mullins Grambling State
LB Darron Johnson Alabama State
LB Armoni Holloway Alabama A&M
LB Solomon Muhammad Alcorn State
DB Javen Morrison Alcorn State
DB Qwynnterrio Cole Alcorn State
DB Joseph McWilliams Grambling State
DB Ju’Anthony Parker Prairie View A&M
Special Teams
K Corey McCullough Alcorn State
P Anthony Craven Alabama State
RS Ezra Gray Alabama State
Preseason Second Team
Offense
QB Aqeel Glass Alabama A&M
RB Dawonya Tucker Prairie View A&M
RB Devon Benn Southern
OL Christian Rice Prairie View A&M
OL Danny Garza Prairie View A&M
OL William Waddell Grambling State
OL Shonye Reams Alabama A&M
OL Jaylon Brinson Southern
WR Tren’Davian Dixon Texas Southern
WR Brian Jenkins Alabama A&M
TE Jeremias Houston Southern
Defense
DL Ron Collins Prairie View A&M
DL Darrell Henderson Alcorn State
DL Theron Bonds Alcorn State
DL Khalil Johnson Jackson State
LB Brelion Hollis Alcorn State
LB Julian Marcantel Texas Southern
LB Keonte Hampton Jackson State
DB Daquarian Fields Grambling State
DB Joshua Hill Alabama State
DB Daylon Burks Alcorn State
DB Montavious Gaines Southern
Special Teams
K Zack Elder Prairie View A&M
P Corey McCullough Alcorn State
RS Tyrin Ralph Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Predicted Order of Finish

Eastern Division 
Alcorn State (92)
Alabama A&M (70)
Jackson State (61)
Alabama State (47)
Mississippi Valley State (30)

Western Division
Southern (90)
Prairie View A&M (78)
Grambling State (74)
Texas Southern (34)
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (24)

MEAC ANNOUNCES 2019 ESPN FOOTBALL TV SCHEDULE

NORFOLK, Va., July 1, 2019—The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) has announced its ESPN football package for the 2019 season, which features nine regular-season match-ups on ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and one postseason appearance on ABC. The nationally-televised games are a part of the MEAC’s ongoing partnership with ESPN.

The 15th annual MEAC/SWAC Football Challenge kicks off the first full week of the 2019 season, featuring Bethune-Cookman against Jackson State of the SWAC, which will be televised live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1. Bethune-Cookman will play in the classic for the fourth time in program history, while Jackson State will make its second appearance. The contest moved to a neutral site for the first time since 2015 last season, as it is now being played in Atlanta, Ga. at “Pete Petit Field” at Georgia State Stadium.

The ESPN3/ESPNU slate kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 26 as Delaware State travels to Greensboro, N.C. to face the defending MEAC and Celebration Bowl champion, North Carolina A&T State, at 7:30 p.m.

One week later, Morgan State will travel to Daytona Beach, Fla. to face Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. That game will stream live on ESPN3 and be televised that evening on ESPNU.

The second Thursday night contest of the season will air on Oct. 10, as Bethune-Cookman travels to North Carolina Central for a showdown which will air live on ESPNU at 6 p.m.

The MEAC returns to the airwaves in the month of November with four contests, headlined by North Carolina Central at Howard on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m., live on ESPN3 and rebroadcast that evening on ESPNU. The Aggie-Eagle Classic featuring North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T State will be played on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m., live on ESPN3 and rebroadcast later that evening on ESPNU.

The annual Florida Classic featuring Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M will be played at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla on Nov. 23. The Florida Blue Florida Classic will air live at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.

Two wildcard contests have been secured by the MEAC, one in October and one in November, featuring teams in contention for the conference title. The first wildcard contest will take place on Oct. 12, followed by the second game on Nov. 16.  Both games will stream live on ESPN3 and be televised that evening on ESPNU.

The fifth annual Celebration Bowl wraps up the season as the MEAC champion will square off against the SWAC champion on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Atlanta, Ga. at Mercedes Benz Stadium. The contest will air live on ABC at 12 p.m.

 

2019 SCHEDULE

Sunday, Sept. 1 · 3 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman vs. Jackson State (MEAC/SWAC Challenge)
Live on ESPN2

Thursday, Sept. 26 · 7:30 p.m.
Delaware State at North Carolina A&T State
Live on ESPNU

Saturday, Oct. 5 · 4 p.m.
Morgan State at Bethune-Cookman
Live on ESPN3/Televised later on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 10 · 6 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at North Carolina Central
Live on ESPNU

Saturday, Oct. 12 · TBA
MEAC Wildcard #1
Live on ESPN3/Televised later on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 2 · 1 p.m.
North Carolina Central at Howard
Live on ESPN3/Televised later on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 16 · TBA
MEAC Wildcard #2
Live on ESPN3/Televised later on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23 · 1 p.m.
North Carolina Central at North Carolina A&T State (Aggie-Eagle Classic)
Live on ESPN3/Televised later on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23 · 3:30 p.m.
Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman (Florida Blue Florida Classic)
Live on ESPNEWS

Saturday, Dec. 21 · 12 p.m.
MEAC Champion vs. SWAC Champion (Celebration Bowl)
Live on ABC

 

Please be advised that all games scheduled to be televised later are subjected to change.

About the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) begins its 49th year of intercollegiate competition with the 2019-20 academic school year. Located in Norfolk, Va., the MEAC is made up of 11 outstanding historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline: Bethune-Cookman University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University.

SWAC Announces 2019 ESPN Football Schedule

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the upcoming ESPN line-up for the 2019 season highlighted by a total of 13 games that will be featured across ESPN’s networks.

“When we began scheduling the upcoming lineup of ESPN games we sought match-ups that would give viewers and the average fan that may not get to attend our games a strong representation of our brand of football,” said SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland.

“This upcoming slate of games highlights several annual classics, traditional conference rivalries, and matchups that feature teams that played highly competitive games last season, while also providing viewers a unique look at the excitement and pageantry found on display any given day at a SWAC football game,” added McClelland.

“Overall the relationship we have with ESPN along with this 2019 lineup games, provides our league with national exposure, marketing, brand recognition, and visibility that will be on par with many of the football conferences at the FBS level.”

ESPN’s season coverage of the SWAC will begin on Saturday, August 31, with the Labor Day Classic as Prairie View A&M travels to face rival Texas Southern at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

The 2019 edition of the Celebration Bowl which features the champions of the MEAC and SWAC will once again bring a fitting close to the national broadcast schedule for the league on December 21 at 12:00 pm EST on ABC at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

A full listing of the upcoming lineup of games set for broadcast on ESPN can be found below.

DATE TIME GAME WATCH
August 31 5:30 pm Prairie View A&M at Texas Southern ESPN3 (5:30 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
September 1 2:00 pm Bethune-Cookman vs. Jackson State ESPN2 (2:00 pm live)
September 21 5:00 pm Prairie View A&M at Alcorn State ESPN3 (5:00 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
September 28 6:00 pm Southern at Arkansas-Pine Bluff ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 5 6:00 pm Grambling State at Jackson State ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 12 6:00 pm Prairie View A&M at Southern ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 19 2:00 pm Jackson State at Mississippi Valley State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live) ESPNU (*12:15 am tape delay)
October 24 6:30 pm Jackson State at Prairie View A&M ESPNU (6:30 pm live)
October 26 2:30 pm Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State ESPN3 (2:30 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
November 2 4:00 pm Alabama A&M at Southern ESPN3 (4:00 pm live)
November 9 2:00 pm Alcorn State at Grambling State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
November 23 2:00 pm Alcorn State at Jackson State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live)
December 7 3:00 pm 2019 SWAC Football Championship ESPNU (3:00 pm live)

               
*ESPNU tape delay times are subject to change

All games will be available on the ESPN App 

About the SWAC:  
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is considered one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country and currently ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams.

Current championship competition offered by the league includes competition for men in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field and Tennis.

Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.

Follow the SWAC
For complete coverage of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, please follow the SWAC on social media at @TheSWAC (Twitter), @TheSWAC (Facebook), and @TheSWAC (Instagram) or visit the official home of the Southwestern Athletic Conference at www.swac.org.

Tarik Cohen, Darius Leonard… is Darryl Johnson up next?

Why Darryl Johnson is ready to be the NFL’s next HBCU sensation.

By Will Dean
June 18, 2019

ATLANTA – With OTA’s and Mini Camps in the rearview mirror and NFL Training Camps across
the country fast approaching, former North Carolina A&T defensive end and two-time
Celebration Bowl Champion Darryl Johnson is prepping for a breakout rookie season with the
Buffalo Bills. In addition to being a part of two consecutive Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
winning teams, Johnson added a Defensive Player of the Year award and a nomination for
Black College Football Player of the Year to his long list of accolades in the 2018/19 season.

So how does Johnson plan to translate his success in the college game to a career in the NFL?

In an exclusive interview with The Undefeated’s Mark W. Wright, Johnson emphasized the
importance of setting goals. He remembers telling coaches and media about his plans to lead
the MEAC in sacks, make first-team all-conference, and win Defensive Player of the Year.
Johnson accomplished each of these goals in his standout junior season, and now he has
similarly lofty goals for his rookie season in the NFL. “I want my name to be right there as a guy
who left A&T early, went to the NFL, and being (in the) Rookie of the Year conversation”.

Johnson cites Chicago Bears running back and 2015 Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP Tarik
Cohen along with Indianapolis Colts linebacker and 2017 MEAC SWAC Challenge Defensive
MVP Darius Leonard as key role models for himself and other aspiring NFL Players who
choose to attend Historically Black Colleges & Universities. “When guys like Tarik and Darius
win, we all win — and it’s nice to see the NFL Players Association recognize that by selecting
them as the 2019 recipients of the Black College Football Pro Players of the Year.”

Fascinatingly, in his senior year of high school Johnson almost found himself without any
options at all. According to Nate Mendelson of the Buffalo Bills, Johnson suffered an injury his
senior year that scared off most Division I college football programs. By signing day, North
Carolina A&T was the only scholarship offer still on the table.

“Man, without A&T, I really don’t know where I’d be right now,” Johnson said. “I’d be in college
somewhere, but I probably wouldn’t be playing football.”

Johnson promised to repay North Carolina A&T’s trust in him, and with all the aforementioned
accolades in mind, it’s fair to say the university’s investment in Darryl Johnson was met with
more than a healthy return. Now Johnson is taking that same grit and perennial chip on his
shoulder to the NFL.

After making all the college scouts who lost interest in him look silly by taking off at A&T,
Johnson faces a new set of doubters at the next level. In spite of all his accomplishments,
some NFL scouts expressed concerns over his size and strength, as he slipped into the
seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But Johnson points towards a couple of other undersized
and underrated HBCU stars who proved all their “haters” wrong:

“I know the [NFL] scouts will label me as small and below average in size for a defensive end
(at 6-5, 232 pounds) they told that to Tarik Cohen (and) Darius Leonard too…”

With each of these “undersized” HBCU alumni receiving Pro Bowl and Defensive Rookie of the
Year honors respectively last year, Darryl Johnson feels he is primed to follow in their footsteps.
The Buffalo Bills will hope that Johnson can do just that, by replicating his odds-defying
production and extending his cinderella story at the NFL level. At this point, don’t bet against it.

 

Celebration Bowl Set for Saturday, December 21 on ABC

The Celebration Bowl, in its fifth year, will be televised live on ABC for the fifth consecutive year, kicking off at noon ET, on Saturday, Dec. 21, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), features the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The MEAC leads the series 3-1 with all three wins coming from North Carolina A&T, who  held off Alcorn State to win the 2018 Celebration Bowl 24-22. The Aggies also captured their last minute 21-14 win over Grambling State in 2017 capping the first unbeaten season in MEAC history. Grambling won the SWAC’s first title in 2016 with a thrilling 10-9 victory over North Carolina Central.

Tickets for the game, a full ancillary event schedule and discounted rates at downtown Atlanta hotels will be available this summer. To stay up to date on Celebration Bowl announcements, sign up for updates on www.TheCelebrationBowl.com and follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, also manages the season-opening MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Labor Day weekend, another game that showcases these two conferences. The 2019 Challenge will be played in Atlanta, featuring Bethune Cookman from the MEAC and Jackson State from the SWAC. The game is set for Sunday, Sept. 1, at Georgia State Stadium, at 3 p.m.

The Celebration Bowl is one of this year’s 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events
, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 34 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 15 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event, an esports event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages.

 -30-

BEYONCES HOMECOMING IS AN ILLUMINATING TWO-WAY STREET

The superstar uplifts HBCU culture — and her own journeys home

2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – Weekend 1 – Day 2
Beyonce performs onstage during the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 in Indio, California, on April 14, 2018. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

BY KELLEY L. CARTER

April 17, 2019

Beyonce, yet again, has gifted us all.

This time, she’s bringing a culture that’s so very important to African Americans to a global, mainstream stage. Her latest present is a Netflix documentary, Homecoming (streaming now), and it’s a dive into the inspiration for her game-changing 2018 Coachella performance.

Beyonce not only takes us behind the scenes of the making of that particular set of shows, she takes us home with her. We see her at her most vulnerable: dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, figuring out how to be a mother of a 6-year-old and a set of newborn twins, as well as a wife, and an international superstar who is ready to come back home. Home, for Beyonce, is the stage. Her film’s title is a double entendre, as Beyonce plays to actually coming home to the live stage and to the rich tradition of historically black college and university (HBCU) halftime culture as she brings it to a festival that was stridently white until recently.

Beyonce was the festival’s first African American female headliner — “Ain’t that about a b—-?” she sneers at one point — and in 2018 she collaborated with her team to craft a show that would show the world something that those of us who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Hampton, Virginia, were quite familiar with.

Interwoven with footage of the Coachella concert are homemade, never-before-seen rehearsal videos of the creation of one of the greatest shows to grace a festival stage, with Beyonce sharing insights about her body, her babies and her home life. The day she delivered babies Rumi and Sir via an emergency cesarean section, she topped out at 218 pounds. And Coachella was months away.It’s about the never forgetting. It’s about making sure that everyone is connected and educated and inspired by African American culture.


ITS ABOUT THE NEVER FORGETTING. ITS ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT EVERYONE IS CONNECTED AND EDUCATED AND INSPIRED BY AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE.

From there, she takes us on a journey: hitting SoulCycle hard, yes, but also dance rehearsals and other work that helped her burn up to 2,000 calories a day while cutting carbs, dairy, meat, sugar and alcohol from her life. Her discipline is to be as marveled at as the final product: Beychella.

We see the moment she’s able to fit back into a revealing costume — she FaceTimes her husband, Jay-Z, and revels in the accomplishment. It’s one of the very human moments in the film, reminding us that the woman we’ve crowned a deity is actually, well, one of us.


BEYONCE IS A HUMAN BEING? YEP.

Yep. She shares her breakneck schedule, the breastfeeding, the babies, the meetings with her team, the sheer perfectionist that she is while working on something as important as this show, which will both introduce a culture and give visibility to those who feel unseen by the world at large.

Beyonce, who directs and produces this film, flashes inspirational go-get-’em quotes from dignitaries such as Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman, all of them esteemed HBCU grads. She sees us — sees black folks, and black women specifically. In her show, we see black women with various body types; big girls move in bright leotards, and she says in a voice-over that she wants the world to see our curves. Beyonce’s father, of course, is an HBCU alum, and she talks about growing up with and being inspired by battle-of-the-band performances.

Perhaps the most significant moment of this documentary is near the end. The Carters’ daughter Blue Ivy is standing next to her mother, swaying side to side and singing the words of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Her mother had sung the song earlier in the show. At times, Blue Ivy couldn’t quite remember the words, and her mother would lean over and whisper them in her ear. When Blue Ivy gets to the end of the song, she excitedly tells her mother that she wants to sing it again.Beyonce is a human being? Yep.

And that is what this whole experience is about.

It’s about never forgetting. It’s about making sure that everyone is connected and educated and inspired by African American culture. On a global stage. Across generations.

And, of course, it’s about getting to see one of the world’s most dynamic performers at her most authentic and open and at her very best. In one of her closing voice-overs, she says, “If my country a– can do it …,” anyone can.

That’s motivating. And inspiring. But respectfully, I beg to differ. Because we might never see anything — or anyone — like this again.

Tarik Cohen and Darius Leonard Named 2018 Black College Football Pro Players of the Year

Atlanta, GA (February 13, 2019) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced today that Chicago Bears running back and return specialist Tarik Cohen and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard have been named recipients of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award, Presented by the NFLPA. The Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player from a Historically Black College and University. Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2017.

Cohen attended North Carolina A&T State University, from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2017. During the 2018 season, Cohen rushed for 444 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also had 71 catches for 725 yards and five touchdowns, along with a league-leading 411 punt return yards. He was named to the 2019 Pro Bowl roster and First Team All-Pro as a return specialist.

The 6-foot-2, 234-pound Leonard played for Coach Buddy Pough at South Carolina State University, and was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He finished his rookie season with 163 combined tackles (111 solo), eight pass deflections, seven sacks and one interception. His 163 tackles led the NFL and broke the Colts’ franchise record. Leonard was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl.

The formal presentation of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award will be made at the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on February 16, 2019.

“This award was established to shine a light on the immense talent of current Black College Football players at the highest level,” said James “Shack” Harris, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2012 inductee.

The Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award was voted on by a Selection Committee, composed of media members D. Orlando Ledbetter (Atlanta Journal Constitution), Jay Walker (ESPN), John Williams (The Undefeated) and Steve Wyche (NFL Network); NFL front office members Doug Williams (Washington Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) and former NFL scout Charles Bailey.

“Today, there are about 30 players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities on active NFL rosters,” said DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director. “Some of the best players in NFL history are from HBCUs, and it’s exciting to honor today’s stars.”

The 2019 Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by the Atlanta Falcons, takes place at the College Football Hall of Fame on February 16. The 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year will also be announced during the Ceremony. Tickets and sponsorships are still available at www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.

“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees and Selection Committee, we congratulate Tarik and Darius on this historic accomplishment,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “These men are great role models and an inspiration for youth across the country.”

About the NFLPA

“We, The National Football League Players Association … Pay homage to our predecessors for their courage, sacrifice, and vision; … Pledge to preserve and enhance the democratic involvement of our members; … Confirm our willingness to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of our membership — To preserve our gains and achieve those goals not yet attained.”

About Black College Football Hall of Fame

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks, Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 70 Inductees since inception, including Mel BlountJames HarrisWillie LanierArt Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.

Air Force Reserve Returns as Title Sponsor of the 2018 Celebration Bowl

By Master Sgt. James Branch, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published December 19, 2018

ATLANTA — After a year break, the Air Force Reserve returned as the title sponsor of the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, the championship game for Historically Black College and University football.

The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, took on the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions Dec. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The game marked the first time the two teams met since they battled each other in 2015, at the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

John Grant, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl executive director, expressed his gratitude on behalf of ESPN Events to the Air Force Reserve for joining the Bowl Committee as this year’s sponsor, and stated its commitment is vital to the success of the event.

“The theme of this year’s Celebration Bowl is all about the celebration of service,” he said. “Partnering with the Air Force Reserve allows us to truly honor and commemorate those who volunteer and serve to protect our communities and country”

In addition to increasing its brand recognition to a broad national audience, the Air Force Reserve seized the opportunity to highlight its many education and career benefits, and showcase the nearly 74,000 Citizen Airmen who are part of the communities they serve. They study in colleges and universities, support local community programs, maintain civilian careers, and make an impact each and every day.

Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, believes it’s incredibly significant the Air Force Reserve uses the Celebration Bowl platform to honor and promote its legacy of culture and diversity.

“Diversity takes on all forms, whether it’s ethnicity, gender, or thought,” he said. “The fusion of varied cultures creates a strong military that can respond whenever America needs us. Serving our country is important, and exciting. The more we can get that word out, the better the Air Force Reserve will be.”

Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, AFRC command chief, said coming back as the title sponsor after a year off re-affirms Air Force Reserve’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“For me, the chance to showcase the Reserve to college students who are looking for advancement opportunities is beyond words,” she said. “Being a woman from the Hispanic community, I can testify to the opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers.”

Scobee flipped the coin, and the Aggies received the first kick-off, and put the first touchdown score of the game on the board in just three downs. The Braves trailed them for the entire game, with a half time score of 17-6. Although they scored 18 points in the second half of the game, they would never catch up, and the Aggies won 24-22, becoming the 2018 National HBCU football champions.

Scobee presented the Championship Trophy to Sam Washington, N.C. A&T head coach, Richie Kittle, Defensive MVP with nine tackles, and Lamar Richard, Offensive MVP with 292 passing yards and two touchdowns.

During the postgame press conference, Richard, a senior, said it felt good win the championship, and go out on top. He thanked the Air Force Reserve, bowl committee, and the city of Atlanta.

Commercials and announcements throughout the game highlighted the many opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers to individuals who want to serve their country part-time while pursuing an education or advancing their civilian career.

“The Air Force Reserve is more than proud to once again sponsor the premier college bowl game of the season,” said Col. Timothy H. Martz, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service commander. “Although the game is a vehicle for us to reach a number of demographics, the event is beyond recruiting for us. It gives AFRC the ability to leave a positive impression on not only HBCUs but the entire country.”

According to Meltwater Media Monitoring Service, the sponsorship garnered nearly $127 million in advertising value equivalent and recorded nearly 13.7 billion positive impressions through television broadcasting and print and online media reporting in addition to nearly 32,500 fans reached in the Mercedes Benz stadium during the game.