HBCU Awards recognizes the positive impact of HBCUs, Institutions: churches, barbershops, and beauty salons, and Influencers on the African American culture in Education, Business, and Entertainment. Online category nominations are by HBCU students, HBCU Alumni, fans, and the general public.

About the HBCU Awards

After the Civil War, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were created to meet the educational needs of Black students who previously had negligible opportunities to attend college.

These schools had humble beginnings, with the first HBCUs conducting classes in homes, church basements, and old schoolhouses. The Morrill Act of 1890, which required states to provide land-grants for colleges to serve Black students, allowed HBCU's to build their own campuses.

These colleges and universities have long been an outstanding source of academic accomplishment and great pride for the African American communities throughout the entire nation. They offer doctoral programs, master's programs, bachelor's degree programs, and associate degrees. HBCU doors opened during the period of segregation in the United States before the Civil Rights Act because predominantly white education institutions completely disqualified or limited African American enrollment. They have played a critical role in ensuring that African Americans students and students of all races receive a quality education.

Today, there are over 100 HBCUs across the county. They enroll 20 percent of African American students, and despite constituting only 3 percent of four-year colleges in the country, HBCUs have produced 80 percent of the black judges, 50 percent of the black lawyers, 50 percent of the black doctors, 40 percent of the black engineers, 40 percent of the black members of Congress, 25 percent of all black STEM graduates, and 13 percent of the black CEOs in America, today.

Best HBCU Marching Band

A distinctive "HBCU-style" of the marching band originated in the American South in the 1940s through the blending of earlier traditions of military music and minstrel shows with a performance repertoire based on a popular song. The spectator popularity of HBCU bands made the musicians famous as on-campus athletes. These bands play with tremendous style thorough choreographed dance routines and elaborate high-spirited field drills. This high-stepping, high-energy, razzle-dazzle marching style is traditionally exhibited at HBCUs from New York to Texas.

Voting Coming Soon

Best Church

In 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, Augusta Institute was established in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church, the oldest independent African American church in the United States, in Augusta, Georgia. Its purpose was to prepare black men for the ministry and teaching. Augusta Institute is now known as Morehouse College. Black churches in America have always been stable, supportive, often political, dominant institutions in black communities. The churches' investment in black education paid dividends, HBCUs educated the lawyers, doctors, teachers, and ministers who built black communities across the South. They trained the pioneering activists who organized the civil rights movement that broke Jim Crow's back. It is typically an anchor for the community as well as a driving source for social uplift. The Best Church will offer outreach services for the destitute, homeless, and hopeless while serving as a resource beyond the sanctuary for individual, systemic, and political change within the black community.

Voting Coming Soon

Best HBCU Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematic Program

HBCU's produce 40 percent of bachelor's degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. Early in their history, HBCUs focused on trades and teacher training. However, the concern for the business education of African-Americans dates back to 1895. HBCUs promote academic achievement as well as impact an increase in the number of underrepresented minorities who receive baccalaureate and graduate degrees in STEM.

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Best Style and Beauty Salon

Since the turn of the 19th Century, the beauty salon has served a unique social function for African American women. Madame C. J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America, made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for African American women. Salons that typically host African American customers do more than just straighten and style natural hair; they embrace it! The salon's primary focus is to provide sensational and beautifully designed hair, color, haircuts, and hairstyles. However, they can also offer and sell high-quality hair care products. The salons can also include natural hair salons that specialize in curly, kinky, and coily hair textures. Over the years, beauty salons have come to provide a unique social function, and salons are the "Voices of our Community."

Voting Coming Soon

Best HBCU Fine Arts and/or Performing Arts Program

The Fine Arts and/or Performing Arts nominee maintains an environment that motivates students of high artistic and academic potential. The successful program consistently develops highly skilled and knowledgeable graduates who compete for various professional positions or engage in entrepreneurial endeavors within the arts and related fields. The Fine Arts and/or Performing Arts programs must lead to a range of bachelor, master, and Ph.D. degrees to be eligible.

Voting Coming Soon

Best Barbershop

During the period of slavery in the 19th Century, black-owned barbershops had a most prominent white clientele. It was difficult for a black man to approach a black barber.
After Emancipation, the black-owned barbershops were able to serve African American clientele. That was the beginning of the community barbershop. Barbershops aren't merely small businesses within the black neighborhood; they serve as valued cornerstones and safe community gatherings places for African Americans. One of the first African American millionaires, Alonzo Herndon, began his empire in 1878 with his first barbershop. Today, it is a space for a social experience -- where African American men interact. Regardless of age, class, education, or occupation and chat with their barbers about their lives while catching up, offering an opinion on the latest local and national news or issues, and engaging in open debates about a variety of subjects. The barbershop's primary purpose is to cut, dress, groom, style, and shave men's and boys' hair or beard. However, our barbershops are more than just a place to get a shave or a haircut. It's the Black Man's sanctuary.

Voting Coming Soon

Best HBCU Business School or Program

The Business School or Program will include in-depth classroom instruction, provide real-world experience, and have access to global industry leaders and expert speakers from various backgrounds. The school or program should also have a strong commitment to research and publication. From a business standpoint, more African-American CPAs are graduates of HBCUs than other institutions, and more associates on Wall Street are HBCUs graduates, proving that HBCUs prepare students to succeed. Therefore, the best HBCU should have a primary goal of creating Global business leaders proficiently trained in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and business administration.

Voting Coming Soon

Best Media or Journalist Personality

This Media/Journalist category will recognize an individual's careers in print, radio, television, or digital mediums. Individuals who serve as television show hosts are also considered media personalities. Individuals who host talk shows, news programs, unique segments, radio, television, or digital platforms, as well as reality and game show hosts and personalities, are also eligible. This category's winner will also stand out based on his or her community engagement and the example set in Black Excellence within his or her chosen platform.

Voting Coming Soon

Best HBCU Nursing/Medical School or Program

HBCUs are a valuable resource for educating underrepresented groups as health professionals. Developing and supporting the capacity of HBCUs to produce health professionals is vital to addressing disparities and achieving health equity in the United States. The two oldest HBCU medical schools have combined to produce over 50% of African American doctors and dentists practicing in the United States. There are also many HBCUs with nursing programs, some of which offer online or hybrid programs to help registered nurses continue their practice while taking classes with flexible schedules to advance their careers. The nominee for the best medical or nursing program is ahead of the pack and utilizes cutting-edge technology and research performed by the students and faculty. Additionally, students should gain skills in leadership, management, finance, and the business administration side of health care.

Voting Coming Soon

Best Businessperson of the Year

From technology to manufacturing, from food and financial services to automotive and media industries, companies exist that are revenue and employment leaders in terms of opportunities for African Americans. The nominee can be a celebrity, corporation, philanthropist, or group that demonstrates achievement in ownership or management of a business or who has made significant contributions to the business enterprise or entrepreneurial environment. Nominees will also demonstrate leadership in the growth of a company and/or have an outstanding reputation in management, innovation, and the execution of problem-solving strategies.

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Best Male Entertainer of the Year

This award is designed for male entertainers who have contributed to the most creative and imaginative aspect of entertainment. The artist will be recognized for displaying significant competence in all aspects of show -- sports, film, television, art, literature, stage, or live performances. It is acknowledged that there is a specificity to every talent that is unique to each type of entertainer. For example, a stand-up comedian requires a vastly different skill set than those of a musician. In all cases, the entertainer's brand should rise above others in the areas of leadership, creativity, and philanthropy within the African American community.

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Best Female Entertainer of the Year

This award is designed for female entertainers who have contributed to the most creative and imaginative aspect of entertainment. The artist will be recognized for displaying significant competence in all aspects of show -- sports, film, television, art, literature, stage, or live performances. It is acknowledged that there is a specificity to every talent that is unique to each type of entertainer. For example, a stand-up comedian requires a vastly different skill set than those of a musician. In all cases, the entertainer's brand should rise above all others in the areas of leadership, creativity, and philanthropy within the African American community.

Voting Coming Soon