Homecoming season is officially underway and ESSENCE is teaming up with Pepsi to shine a spotlight on phenomenal Black women who are, or who aspire to be, a part of the nationwide HBCU family.

Launched today, ESSENCE and Pepsi’s “She Got Now” initiative is a multi-tiered platform created to celebrate, support and honor amazing young Black women who have attended, or who aspire to attend, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The inaugural launch will come to life between October 4 and November 2 through a multi-city tour honoring the historic homecoming traditions unique to the following four major HBCUs:

  • Florida A&M University
  • Howard University
  • Hampton University
  • Norfolk State University

As part of the launch, the inaugural Allen McKellar Jr. Internship Program—named in honor of the first Black professional to enter the corporate workforce through a job at PepsiCo—will provide summer internship opportunities at PepsiCo or ESSENCE during the summer of 2020. Beginning in November, the Allen McKellar Jr. Internship Program will be open to all young Black women who aspire to attend, or are currently attending, one of the participating HBCUs.

“For generations, HBCUs have served Black students – particularly Black women – having graduated trailblazing women from Oprah Winfrey to Alice Walker. As today’s student body builds upon this legacy, we are excited to continue to empower the next group of emerging leaders,” noted Michelle Ebanks, Chief Executive Officer, ESSENCE Communications. ‘She Got Now’will serve as an extension of ESSENCE’s nearly 50-year mission to celebrate and support Black women; and together, with Pepsi, we will continue to deepen this commitment.”

The “She Got Now” initiative will kick off in each city with the ultimate tailgate celebration in preparation for the annual homecoming football game. Hosted by the one and only Doug E. Fresh, each tailgate celebration will feature top female DJs and a battle of the bands competition between the marching bands from each of the two competing universities where fans can vote to decide who wins.

“We are honored to partner with ESSENCE to launch ‘She Got Now,’ a platform that celebrates the innate entrepreneurial spirit of young Black women and shines the spotlight on the fantastic culture of our nation’s top HBCUs,” said Hampton University graduate, Derek Lewis, President, South Division, PepsiCo North America Beverages. “To be able to honor PepsiCo’s very own Allen McKellar Jr., a remarkable individual in Black history, who reflects the values and ideals PepsiCo still holds today, and simultaneously honor these young women is incredibly special.”

For more information and the latest updates on the ESSENCE and Pepsi “She Got Now” platform, be sure to follow the official ESSENCE social pages and Pepsi Twitter page.

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