Mascots, marching bands, and more came out to Duffy Square September 16 for a pep rally hosted by Broadway's MJ, New York-based minority-owned sports and entertainment company Sports Eleven05, and entertainment, innovation, and social impact company Color Farm Media. The event celebrated the following day's Toyota HBCU New York Football Classic.
MJ's cast members, including Tony winner Myles Frost, came out for the event, which was hosted by company members Michelle Mercedes and Apollo Levine. Will Traxx served as the official emcee for the event, which also featured Hot 93.7’s DJ SpAzO.
The musical also teamed up with Sports Eleven05 and Van Wagner, an entertainment and sports agency, to present the inaugural Toyota HBCU New York Football Classic presented by Walmart. The Morehouse Tigers faced off against the Howard Bison September 17 at Metlife Stadium, marking a historic partnership between a Broadway show and the HBCU Football classic.
Additionally, the musical has partnered with Color Farm Media, Reggie Van Lee, and Nico Sidoti to present two $10,000 scholarships to two HBCU students.
“Having MJ as the pep rally sponsor speaks volumes,” says Sports Eleven05 Chief Executive Officer Albert Williams. “I can’t recall a time when a Broadway musical sponsored a football Classic. The fact that MJ has decided to stand with us shows their dedication and support of the performance arts at HBCU schools.”
"Color Farm Media is proud to support MJ and this innovative and meaningful partnership with the HBCU Football Classic,” says Color Farm Media co-founders Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon. “HBCUs are more important than ever and are essential to advancing the future of our country. We are thrilled to present scholarships to very deserving students at both Morehouse and Howard. Color Farm's work focuses on storytelling, and advances a narrative that rebrands Blackness and enables HBCU students to rise to the height of their potential where there are no limitations to their dreams."
Two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage penned the book for MJ, which features direction and choreography by Two-time Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon. The Broadway musical won four 2022 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography and Best Leading Actor in a Musical going to Frost for his performance in the title role. The musical continues its run at the Neil Simon Theatre.