Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made news of late. Two highly rated high school basketball players recently made their official recruiting visit to Howard University. And The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill earlier this month got criticized for strongly suggesting in two articles that top Black athletes forego traditionally White schools and attend Black colleges.
Comcast two years ago launched “The HBCU Experience” on Xfinity On Demand. It debuted this fall two documentary-style videos on life at HBCUs and black Greek organizations. Updated sports schedules and standings for HBCU sports teams, and updated series and movies have been added as well.
HBCUs are commonly known for their football halftime shows that feature school marching bands. “Sports certainly are one of the pillars of an HBCU,” Comcast executive Keesha Boyd said in an MSR phone interview. But she added for most HBCU fans, “If you wanted to follow your team, you have a very hard time doing so. You have some games on ESPN3, ESPN2 and [an occasional] game carried on TV One or Aspire.”
“The HBCU Experience” now has over 400 hours of content solely designed to celebrate and recognize America’s Black colleges and universities, which at one time were the only places where Blacks in this country could pursue higher education. “It is a nice mix of sports, bands, and [black] content in general,” Boyd explained.
Boyd’s job title—Comcast multicultural products and black film and TV co-founder—“is a mouthful,” she chuckled. “It’s my job to think through things like do we have the right content… What are we doing to bring real life experiences to our African American customers?”
Although she is not an HBCU alum, Boyd said she truly appreciates their heritage and historical contributions to America. HBCUs “have a unique and special history,” she said. “I am familiar on how revered these schools are. It is an important part of our story.
“We know that there’s upside potential for this type of content,” Boyd said of “The HBCU Experience.” She added that having readily available black-oriented content for blacks and others seeking it “doesn’t have to be an either/or but a both/and.”
Yet, she pointed out, “There is not a ton of HBCU content out there,” but her office is working hard to find it or produce it. For the recent series of videos that featured three black celebrities and HBCU alums on “What’s Your HBCU IQ?” Rolling Out magazine partnered with Comcast on this initiative featuring Keshia Knight Pulliam (Spelman College), Towanda Braxton (Bowie State), and Fonzworth Bentley (Morehouse College), who are quizzed on their black college knowledge.
“The HBCU Experience” is still evolving, Boyd said. “We are doing our best to make the destination better.”
Globe-tracking the Lynx
Danielle Robinson, Temi Fagbenie and Damiris Dantas all saw action on their respective clubs in EuroCup action.
Robinson scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in three games last week for CCC Polkowice (Poland). Fagbenie (Botas, Turkey) totaled 37 points and 21 boards in a .500 week, and Dantas (BNK Sum, South Korea) in her only game last week scored 32 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
The three Lynx players all are in action in EuroCup play this week.