Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint.
By David Cordova
When one thinks of a historically black college & university, it’s all about a sense of black pride. Many years ago, these schools were built for blacks, because they could not gain admission to predominantly white schools. Because of that, it started cultural opportunities that continue to be groundbreaking.
Movies like, “Stomp The Yard,” “Drumline,” and “School Daze,” and shows like, “A Different World,” capture the essence of what life at a black college. For many it’s definitely something great to say that you attended and graduated from a school such as Tuskegee University, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College & so on and so forth.
And even at sporting events, the culture is even magnified, as alumni and current students cheer for their beloved institution. When one plays for a black college, there is nothing like it. You;re likely to see the sorority sisters stepping, the fraternity brothers doing their steps and dancing, and last but not least, the marching bands playing renditions of some of your favorite songs that you’ll hear on the radio or on your Apple Music or Spotify playlist.
Earlier this season, Dave’s Joint was able to attend two events in the tri-state area that reflected the black culture and shows the North what goes on in the South.
Harlem Renaissance Classic
It was a cold Tuesday evening on the West Side of Harlem, on Nov. 23rd, as the inaugural Harlem Renaissance Classic took place inside the Nat Holman Gymnasium on the campus of City College of New York.
Established by Darryl Roberts, the CEO of the non-profit organization, Bridging Structural Holes, which specializes in eradicating inequality and shrinking racial divide that exists in sports, society & culture, this event was built to bring plenty of attention towards black colleges and give youth in places like New York City a glimpse of what they can expect if they were to attend a black college.
In the event, there were two HBCU schools from the CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association), Bowie State University and Lincoln University, going up against two schools from the CACC (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference) in Dominican College and Bloomfield College, respectively, in a showdown between HBCU schools and predominantly white colleges. Both conferences are on the Division II level, so there were no television cameras from major networks in the building. But that didn’t matter. Just the action was necessary. In the first game, Dominican, led by senior Jalen Burgess’ 26 points, went on to knock off Bowie State, 77-60. In the main event, the tri-state battle Lincoln and Bloomfield, it was a close game throught. But the Lions, behind 16 points and five steals from junior Korey Williams, held on strong to beat the Bears, 70-62.
Next season, the HRC will be back and will be on a grander scale. It’s just one of many events to look forward to during the college basketball season.
Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic
On Dec. 18th, many spectators filed into the Prudential Center in the downtown area of Newark, New Jersey for the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic, an event for Division I programs on the HBCU scene. The event was put together by Invesco, an investment management company, and also famed actor, Michael B. Jordan, a native of Newark who attended Arts High School, which is literally just a couple of minutes away from the arena.
On this day, many celebrities were in attendance, such as tennis legend Serena Williams, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Power Book II: Ghost actor Michael Rainey, Jr., former NBA player Grant Hill, Desus Nice of the Showtime hit show, “Desus & Mero,” former WNBA star Renee Montgomery, and there was also a performance by Atlantic Records recording artist, Cordae.
In this event originally were four teams such as Hampton University (Big South Conference), North Carolina Central University (MEAC), North Carolina A&T University (Big South Conference) and Howard University (MEAC).
Unfortunately, due to multiple COVID cases on the team, the Pirates were unable to participate and they were replaced with Delaware State University (MEAC). In the first game, the Hornets ran into a tough Eagles squad that they would play two other games against during conference play. NC Central would go on to dominate and beat Delaware State, 73-49, behind senior Randy Miller Jr’s 22 points.
In the second game, Howard established their presence early and NC A&T woud never recover, as the Bisons would beat the Aggies, 79-57, behind grad student Kyle Foster’s 18 points and seven points and 10 assists by freshman Elijah Hawkins.
“This is huge. As I said, we have an opportunity to represent HBCUs across the country. And we don’t get many opportunities to be on the national stage,” said Delaware State head coach Stan Waterman, “The game is nationally televised on TNT. We’re playing in this arena. And people across the country get to see there’s really good basketball being played.”
With these two events and two events that Phoenix Suns All-Star guard put together in November at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut and the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, more and more HBCU battles are being showcased in major venues. With more and more visibility, the awareness of the black college game will continue to grow and grow further.