Jennifer Holliday and Ruben Studdard will be part of the proceedings at Minute Maid Park on Feb. 18 as part of the fifth annual Urban Invitational, a round-robin baseball tournament designed to give better exposure to players at historically black colleges and universities.
Studdard, who earned fame by winning the second season of American Idol, and Holliday, who has won Grammy and Tony Awards for her work in the stage play Dreamgirls, will sing pregame anthems that will be carried live on MLB.com and MLB Network.
Studdard, who attended Alabama A&M, will sing the national anthem before the 4 p.m. ET game between UC-Irvine and Alabama State. Holliday will perform “America the Beautiful” before the 8 p.m. ET game between her alma mater, Texas Southern, and Prairie View A&M.
Major League Baseball and the Astros will also host a “battle of the bands” between Texas Southern’s “Ocean of Soul” and Prairie View A&M’s “Marching Storm” at 7 p.m. ET.
The Urban Invitational will be held in Houston for the first time this year, and it will begin and conclude at the Urban Youth Academy’s facility at Sylvester Turner Park from Feb. 17-19. Grambling State and Southern will be the other two schools featured in the tourney.
Access to games at Sylvester Turner Park will be available on game day for a suggested $5 donation, and tickets to the events at Minute Maid Park will be made available to the general public for $5. Parking at Minute Maid Park is also available for $5.
All proceeds from donations at the Academy will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation, a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation. There are also Urban Youth Academy facilities in Puerto Rico and Compton, Calif., with another expected to open soon in New Orleans.
Courtesy of MLB