Nike is back with another collection of fan gear that aims to showcase and celebrate the cultural contributions of HBCU students and alumni nationwide.
Through Nike HBCU Yardrunners Campaign, the mega athleisure brand continues its commitment to deepen its relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Using the term “yard runner,”Which has roots in both the AAVE and the HBCU, Nike champions the upliftment of any dominant person or group in their territories.
“For Nike, promoting a campaign alongside the HBCUs is a major victory not only for the black community, but also for universities and general representation,” Delaware State University alumnus Tameka Shockley told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
In line with Nike’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the company pledged $ 10 million in scholarships and university partnerships to increase the number of interns and direct hires. in HBCUs and Hispanic institutions.
Nike’s Fall 2021 Yardrunners Class celebrates former HBCU student-athletes who have become business professionals in medicine, science, technology and entertainment.
“This is actually the second class / cohort of Nike HBCU YardRunners and the main reason is the overwhelming response from young people around the world since the first campaign in 2020, which was caused by the overwhelming display of recognition from the ‘black excellence in all media,’ Shockley said.
“This, combined with the fact that some of Nike’s highest paid athletes are black and hail from HBCUs, is just a plus for schools directly sponsored by the popular brand. “
As large corporations continue to pivot their bottom line to place greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, the need to break the stigma against heavily oppressed groups is and always will be a factor in seeing real progress. That’s part of why Nike’s Yardrunners series is meant to celebrate and empower the black community by investing and creating platforms and apparel for athletes to shine and drive meaningful change.
“The YardRunner campaign is helping to break the stigma surrounding the black community by showing that no matter where we come from and no matter how big our explosion; the main catalyst for success is streamlined through the HBCUs we call home, ”Shockley said.
“It is thanks to the HBCUs involved in this campaign in which all the protagonists participated that they have had these major opportunities thanks to large strong networks within the HBCU pipeline, quality education and a strong sense of community.”