Published on August 29th, 2022 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


PepsiCo Celebrates HBCUs with Launch of Historically Better Tour

Here are some looks from the National Battle of the Bands where PepsiCo kicked off Historically Better: Powered by Pepsi Stronger Together and Doritos SOLID BLACK, a multi-campus tour to empower and celebrate multi-generational Black changemakers.

Pepsi Stronger Together brought students from Cleveland’s Saint Martin de Porres High School marching band to the largest stage of HBCU culture for a performance at the National Battle of the Band’s Step and Stroll on Friday. By funding their participation, Pepsi Stronger Together continues its investment in the students that first kicked off in February during NBA All-Star in Cleveland with a $30,000 donation to students. As a follow-up, students were able to get access and exposure to HBCU culture on the ground as the only non-local high school to participate.


Official Story

Music, sports, community, food, and culture are the hallmarks of HBCUs, and this year, PepsiCo is bringing its Historically Better platform back to celebrate, elevate, and engage students as they get ready for a new year.

Kicking off at the start of HBCU football season at the National Battle of the Bands, Historically Better: Powered by Pepsi Stronger Together and Doritos SOLID BLACK is a multi-campus tour that empowers and celebrates multi-generational Black changemakers. The nearly four-month tour will hit a variety of stops and culminate at the SWAC Championship game.

“With Historically Better, our goal is to utilize the power of PepsiCo’s diverse brand portfolio to address inequity and level the playing field for HBCU students with an end-to-end experience that inspires them by celebrating Black excellence in all its forms,” said Derek Lewis, PepsiCo, President, Multicultural. “Our breadth of programming demonstrates our commitment to HBCUs across our brands and is designed to benefit students, alumni, and fans alike. We’re creating access to career opportunities, spotlighting cultural changemakers and entrepreneurs, and engaging with HBCU students at every step.”

The program complements PepsiCo’s larger Racial Equality Journey commitments, a five-year, more than $400 million investment to increase Black representation at PepsiCo, support and elevate Black businesses and voices, and economic opportunity in Black communities. Programming will come to life across PepsiCo’s three REJ pillars of people, business, and community, including:

  • People – On-Campus Recruitment at HBCUs:
    • Creating an opportunity for HBCU talent who are the next generation of Black corporate leaders, from interns to executives, to engage with PepsiCo through on campus recruitment events. These efforts aim to support PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey goal to increase Black managerial representation to 10% by 2025.
  • Business – Elevating Black Voices and Businesses with Doritos SOLID BLACK and Pepsi Dig In:
    • Celebrating the connection between music, food, and the community, Doritos SOLID BLACK will highlight culture-driving Black Changemakers and HBCU alumni through music-led consumer activations, featuring Doritos SOLID BLACK Changemaker DJ Mr. Rogers.
    • Pepsi Dig In will continue its rallying call for people to double down on supporting Black-owned restaurants, as well as its invitation for Black restaurateurs to tap into a variety of resources, mentorship and training made possible by PepsiCo. Students are invited to support Black-owned restaurants at HBCU tailgates across the country by enjoying their delicious food and refreshing beverages, while also nominating them for Pepsi Dig In’s Black Restaurants Deliver program — a free 8-week consulting program designed to work directly with Black-owned restaurants by providing the know-how and financial resources to level-up their digital and delivery presence.
  • Community – Inspiring the Next Generation of HBCU Students:
    • Pepsi Stronger Together is bringing students from Ohio’s Saint Martin de Porres High School marching band to the largest stage of HBCU culture: the National Battle of the Bands on August 27th. By funding their participation, Pepsi Stronger Together is investing in the Cleveland-based students to help them represent the only non-local high school participating in the Step and Stroll event and providing the youth access and exposure to HBCU educators and students.
    • Throughout the tour, Pepsi Stronger Together and Doritos SOLID BLACK will spotlight the HBCU campus DJs, who will receive on-site support and coaching from celebrity DJs, including DJ Mr. Rogers, as well as provide financial support to help them pursue their dreams in the entertainment industry while they are in school.

Fans can follow @pepsistrongertogether #HistoricallyBetter for more information on the Historically Better tour and recruitment efforts as updates are released closer to event dates.

About Pepsi Stronger Together

Pepsi Stronger Together (PST) is a national initiative to empower and engage communities around the country by providing tailored programming and resources that bring people together. It was conceived with the idea that now, more than ever, we must foster a sense of connection and belonging, starting by investing locally. Launched in May of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – PST engaged its network of partners in the South to shine a spotlight on essential front-line workers in a variety of industries. Since then, PST has expanded its reach and impact through a variety of partnerships and initiatives, including partnerships with NBA teams, community leaders, and environmental and charitable organizations.

Driven by the PepsiCo positive (pep+) vision to catalyze positive change for people and the planet, Pepsi Stronger Together is continually evolving to respond to the cultural moment and meet the needs of communities across the United States. Stay up to date and learn how to engage at http://www.pepsistrongertogether.com.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @pepsistrongertogether.

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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