Back for a second year and just in time for homecoming is Nike’s HBCU Yardrunners collection. This year’s collection will feature HBCU-themed shoes, apparel and accessories from 16 schools.
School mascots like North Carolina A&T State University’s aggies and Howard University’s bison can now be represented on Nike baseball caps, sweatshirts, and more in the HBCU style gear section. Styles like premier Air Force Ones in school spirit colors like red, blue, or gold that complete any HBCU pride fit.
Last November, Nike announced their #Yardrunners initiative to honor HBCU trailblazers and alumni who “ran the yard” at their HBCUs.
“At Nike, we are committed to deepening our relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, working together with schools who share a long legacy in developing the next generation of athletes and global changemakers,” Nike said to Blavity.
This year, Nike’s fall Yardrunners class consists of 16 former star student athletes from sports like track, equestrian, cheerleading, basketball, and NASCAR. Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Tuskegee, North Carolina A&T, and more are all a part of this year’s Yardrunners 2.0 class. Nike is highlighting the storied legacies of these partnering schools with the Yardrunners collection.
One of the lead faces of #Yardrunners and the Nike partnership is founder and CEO of HBCU news site HBCU Buzz, Luke Lawal Jr., a Bowie State University graduate, Master Mason, and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
“It’s essential to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals at their respective HBCUs that move the culture forward,” Lawal says. “As a Yardrunner, ushering in the next generation responsible for adding their creative elements to amplify positive messages of HBCUs is extremely important. If people can see themselves in brands that we know, like and trust, it betters worldly perspectives.”
Last year’s #Yardrunners rollout spotlighted pace-setters who shift the culture. The 2020 spokespeople included fashion and beauty editor Kahlana Barfield Brown of Howard University and Spiked Spin founder Briana Thompson of Hampton University. This year, we’ll hear from Olympians, NASCAR pit crew members, YouTube influencers, and nonprofit directors, including Mulbe Marcellus Dillard IV of Florida A&M University, Brehanna Daniels of Norfolk State University, and Taliyah Townsend of North Carolina A&T.