On September 16, 2021, the Los Angeles Sparks hosted a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) theme night at STAPLES Center presented by Legacy History Pride (LHP). LHP provided the Sparks players with hand-crafted and specifically styled HBCU merchandise worn upon their arrival to the arena. While players entered the tunnel, a marching band lined the walls and dropped a beat. Headlining the evening pregame was a college fair with information on many schools, followed by an HBCU panel. The panel presented prestigious Black university alumni from Washington D.C. to Tallahassee, Florida including Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, and Florida A&M University.
The HBCU panel and college fair was created to honor and recognize the educational accomplishments made in the Black community and provide a sense of camaraderie and guidance, giving students a pathway to success alongside their peers and idols.
The college fair consisted of representatives from Tuskegee University, Howard University, Florida A&M University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Grambling State University. These schools introduced aspiring college students to a taste of a college experience and the knowledge to make the right decision for themselves moving forward in their education. About 75 attendees filled the LEXUS Club floor as guests were able to visit the six different prominent colleges. These HBCUs were able to set up an informational table granting an exclusive teaser of an experience that students will get by attending their campus in the future.
The esteemed panel was led by three young and established Black alumni; Tyler Ward, Mass Media Art graduate from Clark Atlanta University, Elijah Ruthland, a Graphic Design graduate from FAMU, and Tahir Murray, a graduate from Howard University. The panelists talked about successful student tactics to remain organized and avoid falling into academic despair. The three panelists gave beneficial commentary about college culture, the importance of networking, and challenges the younger generation might face early in their college career.
The panelists also talked about their career trajectory and gave advice on how to become a dominant figure in the on-campus community. Ruthland, the FAMU graduate, talked about his growing career as an entrepreneur in the entertainment and lifestyle field. Ward, gave advice about attending Black college tours and cultivating individualistic passions.
The three panelists along with Natalie White, Interim President & COO of the Los Angeles Sparks, left the audience engaged and excited about HBCU’s and the opportunities they provide.
“The opportunities are endless,” White said. “So take advantage of that! Keep your confidence up and believe in your abilities and it will happen.”