16th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Celebrates HBCU Culture and Marching Band Tradition

- Event featured performances by eight Historically Black College and University marching bands

- Brian "Blue" Smith, founder of the BlueHeart Foundation, was named the 2018 HBCU Power of Dreams Award winner for his service to the community

- HBCU College Fair hosted over 7,000 attendees to discuss admissions and scholarship opportunities

    A crowd of 62,000 fans, students and alumni took part in the 16th annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase (HBOB) on Saturday, where they enjoyed spectacular performances by eight of the nation's top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) marching bands and GRAMMY Award-winning R&B group 112. This year's HBOB theme, "March On. Dream Together," highlighted the distinctive culture of HBCU with a musical extravaganza of unparalleled musicianship, pageantry and camaraderie.

[Eight of the nation's top Historically Black College and University marching bands performed at the 16th annual Honda Battle of the Bands.]

The show opened with a captivating musical salute to the U.S. military. All eight bands—more than 2,000 musicians and dancers in total—joined together on the field to honor all those who serve. Additional HBOB highlights included an energetic drum major tribute to the city of Atlanta, new music from 112's latest album "Q Mike Slim Daron" and a show-stopping routine by the ever-popular Alabama State University Honey Beez.

This year's Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase participants included:

    Alabama A&M University, Marching Maroon & White Band (Southwestern Athletic Conference) – fifth appearance

    Alabama State University, Mighty Marching Hornets (Southwestern Athletic Conference) – sixth appearance

    Bethune-Cookman University, Marching Wildcats (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) – 13th appearance

    Hampton University, The Marching Force (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) – first appearance

    Miles College, Purple Marching Machine (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) – first appearance

    North Carolina A&T State University, Blue & Gold Marching Machine (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) – sixth appearance

    Prairie View A&M University, Marching Storm (Southwestern Athletic Conference) – eighth appearance

    Tennessee State University, Aristocrat of Bands (Ohio Valley Athletic Conference) – eighth appearance

The Invitational Showcase presented these marching bands with a national platform to display their talent, both live and streamed online. Each of the participating universities received grants to help support their music education programs.

Honda HBCU Power of Dreams Award Recognizes Individual Moving the HBCU Community Forward

For the fourth year, Honda honored an exceptional individual who has positively affected the lives of others in the community. Brian "Blue" Smith was named the 2018 Honda HBCU Power of Dreams Award winner. Smith is the founder of The BlueHeart Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to help fulfill basic needs in Montgomery, Ala. From delivering food to those in need to donating toys to children, Smith keeps the Foundation going using funds from his own pocket. Smith is an Alabama State University and Mighty Marching Hornets alum, who also volunteers his time to teach music at a local high school. Honda presented Smith with a surprise grant to help him continue his mission and positive impact in the community.

"We are pleased to honor Brian Smith with this award," said Alexandra Warnier, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility for Honda. "His selflessness and humble approach to helping others is both inspiring and admirable. Brian truly embodies the power of dreams."

HBCU College Fair Encourages High School Seniors to Think About College

In addition to the marching band performances at the 2018 Invitational Showcase, HBOB also included an HBCU College Fair to connect high school students with representatives from fifty-three HBCU schools. Designed to go beyond just exposing young people to the opportunities offered by HBCUs, the college fair enabled prospective college students to meet with marching band and admissions recruiters to discuss admissions requirements and scholarship opportunities. This year's college fair hosted over 7,000 attendees, with more than 300 scholarships awarded.

Honda has been committed to supporting the success and dreams of the nation's HBCUs. Through initiatives like the Honda Battle of the Bands and Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Honda has been able to touch the lives of more than 120,000 students and award $12 million in grants in support of education programs.

For more information on HBOB, visit Fans can also check out HBOB's 16th anniversary journey and highlights from the Invitational Showcase on the official HBOB social media channels:

    Facebook –
    Twitter – @The_Honda /
    Instagram – @the_honda /

Honda now gears up for Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), a unique academic tournament for HBCU students that showcases and recognizes their academic talents. The 2018 champion will be crowned at the National Championship Tournament in April. Visit for more details.

About Honda

Honda seeks to be a company that society wants to exist, creating products and technologies that improve the lives of people while minimizing the environmental impacts of its products and business operations to ensure a sustainable future. Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, to socially responsible business practices and to the promotion of diversity in its workforce. From Honda's involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates – including environmental clean-up activities – Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work. Learn more at



Former NFL Player Helps to Encourage Young Athletes in Miami

FPL-sponsored Student ACES Program continues to promote the values and principles of leadership to young adults

Black PR Wire

Student-athletes on the football team of Miami Beach Senior High School reconnect with their coach, Rod Williams (center in gray); DaJuan Morgan (center in black) and Ernie Tabuteau (center in red) after participating in several fun team exercises as part of the Student ACES program where they engaged in leadership development skills and self-confidence activities − tools that they can apply in their academic life, with their families and in the community. 

Student ACES groups students with professional and collegiate athletes as part of a program sponsored by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), that focuses on training third- and senior-year high school students from public and private educational institutions the values and principles of leadership, such as honor, humility and integrity, through interaction with important sport figures, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

Participants also received the book Building Blocks of Leadership for Young Adults, written by Buck Martinez, founder of Student ACES, as a resource to help them better grasp and apply valuable lessons that will serve as a foundation for the rest of their lives.

About Student ACES

Student ACES, founded in 2013, is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing leadership programs, mentoring, scholarships and internship opportunities for high school students. The organization is impacting the lives of students who so desperately need it. Student ACES focus is to inspire, train and mentor a community of student ACES who exemplify leadership traits in athletics, community service and education. The inspiration for Student ACES is derived from a deep desire to see every student achieve a foundation of successful leadership that will permanently generate positive outcomes in their lives and for the next generation.

Student ACES relies solely on contributions and sponsors. The organization's success is measured by the positive impact to as many high school students as possible. Students participate in the organization's programs at no cost to them. For more information or to donate, please visit

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