The votes are in and six marching bands have been selected to perform at the 2023 Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB), the nation’s premier showcase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) marching bands and dance teams. HBOB marks its 18th year as one of the largest celebrations of Black culture and musical excellence, returning to a live event format and also livestreamed on February 18, 2023.
The 2023 HBOB Invitational Showcase will take place at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala., bringing the music and excitement to an HBCU campus for the first time with high-energy performances from the following six bands:
- Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets – 7th appearance
- Langston University Marching Pride – 4th appearance
- Morgan State University Magnificent Marching Machine – 1st appearance
- Savannah State University Powerhouse of the South – 7th appearance
- Texas Southern University Ocean of Soul – 3rd appearance
- Virginia State University Trojan Explosion – 10th appearance
Each HBCU school represented by the six bands will receive an institutional grant from Honda to support their music education programs, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the Invitational Showcase.
Honda invited all HBCU marching bands to participate in the 2022-2023 HBOB program. After fans nationwide cast more than 100,000 online votes, the final six bands were selected through a voting process that included HBOB fans, HBCU band directors and students, and Honda representatives. The four bands with the most votes automatically secured their spots in the lineup, while the other two bands were selected by the HBOB committee.
“Congratulations to all of the finalists! Honda is excited to carry on the HBOB tradition of bringing together students, alumni and fans to recognize the talents of these spectacular marching bands and dance teams,” said Yvette Hunsicker, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion & Diversity at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “For over 30 years Honda has supported HBCUs in their unique and critical role of providing higher education and opportunities for advancement to the Black community, so hosting HBOB on an HBCU campus for the first time feels like coming home.”
“We are very excited to host the 2023 Honda Battle of the Bands Showcase and provide a buzzing atmosphere of HBCU pride and culture on Alabama State University’s campus,” said ASU President Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
Comedian, radio and television host and Alabama State University alum Rickey Smiley will serve as the host for the 2023 HBOB live event. Loni Love, the Emmy and two-time NAACP Image Award-winning host, comedian, actress, author and Prairie View A&M University alumna, will host the livestream.
“It is an honor to host the iconic Honda Battle of the Bands event, which has a long history of inspiring and energizing fans of music and Black culture across the country,” said Smiley. “HBOB is a one-of-a-kind experience for these talented student musicians and will be an unforgettable day for everyone.”