HBCU homecoming season is the most wonderful time of the year!

There is nothing like the experience of a homecoming at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). From the concerts to the tailgate, it is a time for students, alumni, and guests to convene to celebrate the rich history of institutions that directly impact our culture.

After COVID-19 took the world by storm, it stripped us of a lot of things. Seeing family, attending concerts — you name it. It was a year like no other. Homecoming events were among those delayed and canceled, but the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) had a plan.

Last year was the inaugural celebration of Recognizing and Investing in Student Excellence (RISE), a virtual concert and fundraiser led by TMCF to celebrate the longstanding legacy of HBCU Homecomings.

On Oct. 9, RISE returns with host Terrence J and performances by Migos, Moneybagg Yo, Justine Skye, NC A&T Blue, Gold Marching Machine and more!

RISE 2k21's Vision

“We created RISE to uniquely tell our story, weaving in lifestyle and entertainment as a way to celebrate Black excellence and achievement,” said TMCF President Dr. Harry L. Williams in an official interview with AfroTech. “I am so excited to showcase the amazing talent and pride of our HBCUs to a national audience for the second consecutive year.”

The star-studded event not only provides an opportunity to unify and celebrate the culture, but it will raise funds to further TMCF’s mission to provide HBCU students with career opportunities, scholarships, upskilling and equity programs through partnerships with top-tier organizations.

HBCUs Open The Door For Many Opportunities

As a product of an HBCU, media personality, actor, and host, Terrence J understands the significance that attending North Carolina A&T State University had on his life.

“Going to an HBCU changed my life,” he told AfroTech. “The foundation of my network comes from my time as a student and member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. That is why I understand how critical these institutions are to our legacy. Many key moments in my career were connected to the support or referral of my HBCU family.”

Family like fellow HBCU alum, Will Packer, who Terrence J says is responsible for his first acting gig in a major film.

“The opportunity for one of my first major films, ‘Think Like A Man’ was an opportunity through Will Packer, a FAMU grad, and Steve Harvey, a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity,” Terrence J told us. “Along my entire career journey, having the support of the HBCU community has helped to form me and laid the foundation.”

It’s experiences like these that have led Terrence J to continue to pay it forward and give back to the HBCU community.

“When I get calls to come back to HBCUs and see the future leaders, and the future generations, and the future that’s going to take over, there is absolutely nothing more exciting than that.”

Where To Tune In

RISE 2k21 premieres Sunday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on aspireTV, the television network dedicated to celebrating Black culture and urban lifestyle.

The event will also be available for streaming on TMCF’s YouTube channel and at  tmcf.org/rise.

Click here for more information.