LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and company are taking The Shop UNINTERRUPTED on the road for a homecoming tour of HBCUs. The show will head out to Tennessee State University, Hampton University, and North Carolina A&T University during the fall. As co-creator Paul Rivera told Andscape, those universities were chosen for a specific reason to host the show’s live tour.
“We selected these three schools for various reasons, including their impact and how they empower their students,” Rivera explained.
“From Tennessee State being the first HBCU to launch a hockey program, North Carolina A&T being the largest HBCU that graduates the most Black engineers in America, and Hampton’s rich history with housing the oldest museum of the African diaspora in the U.S., these schools are trailblazers in their own right.”
Calling all HBCU students. 🗣 The Shop is going back on the road.
Introducing The Shop HBCU Tour — a three-city event that starts at Tennessee State University on October 13.
— The Shop UNINTERRUPTED (@TheShopUN) October 9, 2023
The first stop on the tour will be Tennessee State on Oct 13, where Rivera will host and be joined by actor/comedian Kevin Fredericks, better known as KevOnStage. The taping will also feature music producer/songwriter Key Wane and actress/television producer Crystal Renee. The other stops at this point have only confirmed Rivera as a host; the guests he will share the stage with are to be announced. Tennessee State is proud to partner with the show. Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover described her excitement to Andscape, saying,
“We are pleased to be a part of The Shop’s HBCU tour and to kick off the initiative that will bring awareness to our institutions,” Glover said. “TSU has an amazing history, outstanding students and distinguished alumni, and we are excited to share this with the world, especially during our homecoming celebration.”
In addition to the taping, The Shop is partnering with AT&T to bring its Dream In Black Rising Future Makers Showcase to campus, along with Twix giveaways and a showroom model of the Toyota Grand Highlander that students can interact with.
Like Glover, North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. believes that the homecoming season is the perfect time and a perfect vehicle to showcase not just his university but all HBCUs, as he told Andscape:
“We’re excited about this project and all the great work that UNINTERRUPTED and LeBron James are doing to share HBCU excellence more significantly on a national stage,” Martin explained. “Having them here during the Greatest Homecoming on Earth will give America a chance to see what makes this celebration and our university so special.”
Rivera believes that the common thread uniting barbershops and HBCUs in the Black imagination will be evident when the show and its crew make their way to the chosen campuses. He hopes that the show will illuminate to the students who attend the live tapings that no one is truly an overnight success and that it takes work and some good fortune for people to arrive at their eventual destinations. Rivera believes in the power of HBCUs to shape brilliant minds, saying,
“HBCUs are increasingly becoming the first choice for some of the nation’s most sought-after talents,” Rivera explained. “Barbershops and HBCUs hold important roles within Black and Brown communities. Both are cornerstones in cultivating and educating the next generation of Black and Brown thought leaders.”
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