This year 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands provided an “Ol School” vs “Nu School” flare to its already preexisting theme “March On” this past weekend at the Georgia Dome in ATL, Ga.
It was clear; “Ol School” dominated the Dome this year. With DJ Skillz representing for “Ol School”, 26 and over, he kept the entire crowd grooving to the classic sounds of “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe, “Doo Doo Brown” 2 Live Crew, and “Before I Let Go” Frankie Beverly and Maze. But even Dj Skillz could not omit the sounds of some of the most notorious songs you can’t ignore from the new school DJ Baby Yu was spinning. With hot tracks like “No Type” by Rae Sremmurd, “Hot Niggas” Bobby Schmurda, and what seems to be a personal favorite for all the bands presents “CoCo” O.T. Genasis, held it down for the “Nu School”. Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick served as celebrity performance during the showcase.
For the first time in 13 years, Honda Battle of the Bands’ debut its first Power of Dreams Award. Fans had the opportunity to nominate a member from their community who exemplified outstanding work in helping students achieve their dreams. Honda designed this award to mirror its guiding principles in making things better through challenging themselves and others. Miss. Audrey Stradford from Nashville, Tennessee was the first to receive this award thanks to her hard work. Miss. Audrey has dedicated her life to helping students and the person who nominated her wanted to make sure her hard work does not go unnoticed. Miss. Audrey is a model of what it means to be a recipient of the Power of Dreams Award. Along with receiving this grand recognition, Miss. Audrey Stradford was rewarded a 2015 Honda Civic.
“Always, God has been my pilot, Christ my co-pilot, and I just been a passenger on the Holy Ghost line” – Audrey Stradford
The eight marching bands that were selected as the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and University left their mark at this year’s showcase. Talladega College’s ‘Marching Tornado Band’ from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference was the first to make their appearance on the field followed by Howard University’s Showtime Marching Band from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, who made their first appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands since its existence. Under the leadership of its lead drum major Chris McCloud from Dallas Texas, ‘Showtime Marching Band’ dedicated this performance to the Divine Nine. During the beginning of their performance, they created Greek formations of all nine of these sororities and fraternities included in the Divine Nine, giving each sororities and fraternities their own personal shout out. The Devastating Divas of Deltas Sigma Theta Incorporated could be heard throughout the Dome.
North Carolina A&T ‘Blue and Gold Marching Machine’ was one of the three bands to represent the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this year with an Egyptian themed set along with the ‘Marching Wildcats’ from Bethune-Cookman University. Under the leadership of the “Fabulous 5” drum majors, the Marching Wildcats scored themselves a perfect ten in their first formation. Holding it down for the Dirty South, the marching Wildcats could not leave the field without a twerking session from its bands ending in a half split.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference was represented by Alabama State University’s ‘Might march Hornets’, Jackson State University’s ‘Sonic Boom’, and Southern University ‘Human Jukebox’. The Maching Hornets decided to stick with this year’s theme “March On” during their performance. The “March On” theme was established as a reminder to both students and fans that life on and off is a journey. No matter the challenge, no matter the goal in mind, learning never stops. Forming a UNITY formation, they had a live singer performing “Change is Gonna Come.” Jackson State University also featured a live singer with their performance along with other guests such as former alumni and Jazz musician Russel play alongside the band to Ray Charles “Georgia’s on My Mind” and social media craze Superman underwear skater making an appearance. Thirteen year old Quintavious Johnson from America’s Got Talent sung Mary J Blidge “I’m Going Down” to the beat of the Sonic Boom.
Southern University presented a powerful message during their performance at the showcase. Under the leadership of the one and only drum major “Keith the Dream” from New Orleans, Louisiana, the Human Juke Box was a personal fan favorite for most. With the senseless killings of African Americans and recent terrorists’ acts, Southern University ‘Stop the Violence’ message received major recognition from the crowd. They presented a stop sign formation to contribute to their powerful message.
Tennessee State ‘Aristocrat of Bands’ was the only school from the Ohio Valley Conference at this year’s Battle of the Bands. All participating HBCUs received $20,000 from Honda to support the musical educational programs.Flare