The Nations Football Classic, the ultimate historically black college and university (HBCU) reunion, proved to be a very eventful experience. The star-studded weekend united two college rivals, not just for sports, but to remind us of the true HBCU experience. Amidst several Congressional Black Caucus events and with festivities geared around tradition, service, unity, and heritage, the Nations Football Experience (NFE) found a perfect balance of fun and purpose.

Beginning on Wednesday, the NFE began with “Innovators Classic” featuring opportunities for some of the nation’s brightest minds to engage through an event aimed at celebrating diversity in the worlds of tech and entrepreneurship. Thursday, the official kick-off rally, a free concert at Howard University’s Cramton auditorium featured musical guest Monica. Friday’s agenda was jam-packed, beginning in the morning with a distinguished panel of representatives discussing community and police relations around the country.

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Displaying Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.53.04 PM.pngFriday afternoon, Howard and Hampton University students presented their best orators for the student debate and later enjoyed the college fair presented with the Congress Black College Foundation, celebrity TV and radio personality Sheryl Underwood as moderator. Musical artists Tink and 2 Chainz performed live at the Pepsi Fan Festival, and the festivities brought out celebrities including musical artist Raheem DeVaughn, the Washington Wizards basketball players Alan Anderson, John Wall, Kelly Paul Oubre Jr., actors Lance Gross and Lamman Rucker, AJ Calloway, actress Brely Evans, professional football player Keith Pough. The hype did not stop in the last quarter of the game. On Saturday, the H Street Festival featured live music, food, and a showcase of the arts. On Sunday, chapel service took place on Howard University’s campus and attendees collaborated with local initiative #HashtagLunchbagDC to service the community.

Richmond 31, Hampton University 28

Aside from the fun and games, several grants and scholarships were distributed to hard working students and graduates.

During the fun and games, there was also time to reward hard-working HBCU students and graduates. Howard alumni and US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Daniel Sparks awarded a $150k to Howard student Breanna Lipsey. Pepsi awarded two students, Justina Mofett and DeNoire Henderson with the “All for the Real HU” grant of $2,500. AT&T, the official sponsors of the weekend, presented both Howard and Hampton University with checks for $10k. The DC Lottery was also onsite, making several people winners.

This weekend, both Howard and Hampton represented HBCU pride at its finest. One HU proved to be a little more “real” than the other. After shining during the “The Game before the Game”, the official student debate and winning the 2015 Nations Football Classic football game 37-19, the Hampton University pirates have much to brag about as they return to their Home by the Sea.

Join the ultimate HBCU reunion experience next year, Saturday, September 17, 2016. For more information visit nationsfootballclassic.com