It’s hard to hide all the success and swag dripping from all 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It’s the drive of the student body, from the way they lead, to the way they dress. Even well-known footwear and apparel brand Nike has taken notice. Now, all the drip is on display in their new campaign aptly titled “Yardrunners.”

Just who is a Yardrunner? It’s someone whose dedication to their craft, the drip they display and devotion to their HBCU is undeniable. Whether in the field or in the boardroom, they make their domain THE YARD. You can best believe Nike had its hands full capturing all the ways HBCU students and alumni are leaving their mark on our culture. 

Just starting out, Nike celebrated the cultural contributions of 100 HBCU students and alumni nationwide from over 50 HBCUs in a SNKRS roll out.  Just in time for homecoming season, each influencer received a special package that included Nike Blazers, AirMax 95s and a personalized custom note establishing them as Nike Yardrunners. They looked high and low, finding talent from campuses like Winston-Salem State University, Grambling State University, Talladega College, Alabama State University, Paul Quinn College, and Prairie View A&M University.

It’s just as important to be seen as it is to be heard. With that in mind, Nike chose 12 HBCU game changers to tell their stories in the Nike AirShop on the Nike App. You might recognize a few, so see who made the list below!

  • Tahir Murray of Howard University, who founded Legacy History Pride
  • Ashle Mitchell of Dillard University, who is a talent relations manager at BET
  • Dex Robinson of Virginia Union University, who is a celebrity stylist
  • Briana Thompson of Hampton University, who founded Spiked Spin
  • Luke Lawal of Bowie State University, our founder here at HBCU Buzz
  • Kalynn Terrell of Tennessee State University, who owns Nose In the Air
  • Heather Haynes of Clark Atlanta University, who is a producer
  • Kahlana Barfield Brown of Howard University, who is a beauty & style editor
  • Caitlyn David of Florida A&M University (FAMU), who owns the Be Great Store
  • Cam Kirk of Morehouse College, who founded Cam Kirk Studios
  • Nani Edwards of Spelman College, who is an entrepreneur
  • Porchia Marie of University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, who owns the PM Firm
Photo courtesy of Nike

Tahir Murray is known to many as “Mr. Legacy” at Howard University. His creative apparel brand Legacy History Pride (LHP) is just as much a product of his family history as it is his own personal style. Tahir’s grandfather was the first Black sneaker shop owner to secure a Nike account! His father was one of the first streetwear designers to hit the fashion scene. “People can tell you the date, the time and what they were doing when things happened at homecoming. And it all felt similar to when a new pair of Air Maxes dropped,” he said. Just to add icing on the cake, the Howard student’s mother and sister are also HBCU graduates.

BET talent manager Ashle Mitchell got a new perspective on life when her older brother began to gift her fresh Air Maxs as soon as they dropped. Neon Air Max 95s became her favorite. She aspired to work in the entertainment industry, and began to notice the shoe game and overall style of personalities on tv. She was drawn to a particular show highlighting successful black women, and ultimately chose Dillard University due to its arts program. “On an HBCU campus, you automatically connect in so many ways and on so many levels. You connect with shoes, you connect through clothes and you connect with art,” she said. Now as a successful Black woman herself, Ashle navigates the industry fashionably, creating connections for little Black girls to blaze their own trail.

You can also check out the SNKRS App for more HBCU stories! For example, hear from HBCU alums like Chris of Morehouse College, and Simone of Spelman to hear why they love their Nikes and how it makes them feel when they hit the yard!

Stay tuned on our HBCU Buzz social channels to discover the stories of the other Yardrunners and more!