‘Bama State Style’ gives look into HBCU band life

AmNews Staff Reports | 4/17/2015, 5:59 p.m.
Lifetime premieres its newest reality series “Bama State Style” featuring the Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets.
Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets Contributed

Lifetime premieres its newest reality series “Bama State Style” featuring the Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets.

The series chronicles the marching band from grueling practices to show-stopping performances during the fall of 2014. Viewers will get up close and personal stories of the band members, as well as interviews with their esteemed director, Dr. James Oliver.

Bama State Style

Lifetime Network

Air date: Fridays

Time: 11pm ET

"The viewers will really see the hard work that the Mighty Marching Hornets put in all week in preparation for our eight-and-a-half-minute halftime show. They are going to be right there with us as we go through our pre-drill, practice and performance," Oliver said. "Words cannot truly express how awesome this is for our band and for the University.”

Marching under the motto “The Price of Glory is High,” the world-renowned band was recently featured in Robin Thicke’s video for his song “Give It 2 U” and the MTV Video Music Awards.

Band members were treated to a private, advance screening of the show on Thursday on the campus of Alabama State University.

One of the students featured in the first episode is drum major Bruce McDonald Jr., a senior majoring in criminal justice. McDonald said he was a nervous before seeing the advance screening.

“It was exciting. I have never seen myself on a national television show. I’m feeling really happy. It’s like a dream come true. It shows what we do … all the hard work, the time … nothing is made up. This is our reality,” McDonald said.

Cameron Marsh, a junior English major, also is featured. He said the show does a great job depicting the members as a close-knit group.

“They did a very good job capturing our emotional side, as well as what we do as a band, including the strong bond we have,” Marsh said. “I like the way I was portrayed. I am proud of me.”

Robin Thicke poses with the Alabama State University Stingettes on the set of his video "Give it 2 U"

Robin Thicke poses with the Alabama State University Stingettes on the set of his video "Give it 2 U"

Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said she was “walking on clouds” after the screening.

“I think anyone seeing this show will want to know what happens next. I am so glad our band members were natural, real and true to themselves. We are really excited that finally, the world will get a chance to take note of what is really happening on this campus,” Stewart said. “This is good for our students and the University. I’m walking on cloud 99.”

President Gwendolyn E. Boyd expressed her pride in the band’s accomplishments and told them that she has firsthand knowledge of how hard they work.

“Now, the world will get to see what we see all the time: the greatness, the power, the creativity, all that is Alabama State and ‘Bama State Style,’” Boyd said. “You are on the world stage now. Everybody will know who you are, whose you are and what you stand for. This is your day, and we are so very proud of you. You know, I hear you practicing behind the (President's) house. I hear you early in the morning, and I hear you late at night. But it's all good. It sounds good to me!”