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honda battle of the bands

2023 HBCU Marching Band Showcase **Produced by VIVA Creative

[feature project]

In 2003 Honda made a commitment to showcase the heart-stopping musical talents of students in HBCU Bands. Honda Battle of the Bands has served as the blueprint event that showcases the most recognizable and celebrated examples of HBCU culture to the rest of the world.

In 2023 I served as Creative Director for the pre-event campaign and the main showcase, and worked with the amazing team at Viva Creative to bring the spectacular event to life.

This project included an 8 month pre-event campaign featuring a 4-part docuseries, a voting campaign and the creation of over 100 social media assets. The main event itself happened at the end of the pre-event campaign, and took place on the campus of an HBCU.

Below are some highlights from the many aspects of this dynamic event. I am so proud to have been a part of creating and evolving this great platform that's been so key in driving the legacy of HBCUs.


As Creative Director for this event, my first goal was to work with the client to outline a creative campaign that would build awarness and engagement in anticipation for the main showcase. Working alongside an amazing team of designers, we were able to produce the following:
  • Voting campaign with over 100,000+ submitted votes.
  • A dynamic microsite platform that served as the ticketing and messaging hub for the event.
  • A 4-Part Docu-series chronicling the unique elements of the HBCU community and culture.
  • 100+ Graphic, Motion, and Video assets for social platforms

live event

After an 8 month long campaign, the stage was set for a showcase like no other. Running parrallel with the social campaign, I worked with my team to design the format of the show, and establish the overall look and feel of the event. After months of creating renders for scenic environments, building out the run of show and directing the content team to produce 100+ show assets, it was time for all of the teams work to come to life.

This show was meant to be a celebration of HBCU culture, so my goal was to integrate unique show elements that would be dynamic for both live and virtual audiences (45K total attendees/viewers). The show captivated audiences with the following elements:
  • Several field performances by the marching bands
  • A procession of HBCU homecoming royalty
  • A halftime show featuring grammy nominated rapper, 2Chainz
  • Celebrity hosts Rickey Smiley and Loni Love

unity dinner

With every project/event you have your client and the end user/attendee. But this project had another key factor to consider at every decision point. The students.

My guiding light for this project inevitably came from interviewing and following the students that would soon hit the field for a once in a lifetime experience. HBOB is the premier marching band showcase, so for a lot of these students, the experience would live in their hearts for a lifetime.

With that in mind, I set out to work with the team to create a welcoming experiece just for them that would set the tone for the weekends festivities. It was a dinner centered on the topic of Unity; a showcase of the inhearant family culture that lives within the HBCU community beyond the competition. The event featured:

  • Variety show by Wild N' Out cast
  • Communal Dinner & DJ
  • Interactive games and photo ops
  • A selfie scavenger hunt. 

legacy dinner

An early challenge that presented itself was that the client wanted to evolve the platform beyond the standard approach they had used for 15+ years. This meant hosting the event for the first time ever on an HBCU campus versus using the NFL stadium that they had used in years past. 

With this new challenge came an opportunity to come up with a new theme for the platform as a whole. That theme became "driving the legacy of HBCUs". I worked with the client to create moments during the event where they could work directly with key members of the HBCU community to converse about ways to strengthen the relationship between them and HBCUs across the country.

I designed an elegant dinner that brought together 100+ key influencial members of the HBCU community along with the clients team. The evening featured:

  • Dynamic keynote speakers
  • Beautiful table settings and branding
  • An interactive thought & collaboration workshop