Day 1 of the ESSENCE x Pepsi She Got Now Virtual HBCU Homecoming Celebration was a vibe that we can’t stop talking about.

Our 2020 honorees and HBCU presidents kicked things off with a heartfelt Love Letter To HBCUs tribute, while R&B songstress Monica lit up the stage to bring in her birthday by performing her new single “Trenches,” followed by a performance of her classic hit, “So Gone.”

During our “Dear Black Men” conversation, R&B singer Mario joined DJ Envy for a candid discussion about how crucial it is for Black men and women to support each other during the best and worst of times. Mario also shared a little about how his personal story of being raised by his grandmother influenced his life for the better and gave us the scoop about his upcoming memoir.

Plus, we got to know a little more about a few of our phenomenal Black women honorees from Hampton University, PrarieView A&M University, Norfolk State, Jackson State, Benedict University, North Carolina A&T and University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, who are all making boss moves as HBCU students and alumni.

And of course, host and proud NCA&T alum Terrence J held it down from start to finish, while the incomparable Doug E. Fresh brought a few friends along to close out the night with the Old School Afterparty.

Check out the video above to see everythig you missed!

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