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The Cleveland Cavaliers 16th Annual Black Heritage Celebration (BHC) presented by Crown Royal Regal Apple will tip off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Monday, January 20th at 5:00 p.m. when the Cavs take on the New York Knicks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The special early-evening matchup will begin a multiweek celebration themed “Empowering and Inspiring One Generation to the Next.”
The BHC, which is an expanded salute to Black History Month in February, recognizes the remarkable accomplishments of African Americans of today and throughout history who continue to pave the path for future generations. In January and February, the Cavs will spotlight black history moments during the game presentation of featured matchups at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The upcoming months will also include annual events that celebrate, showcase and provide opportunities for black professionals throughout the Cleveland community in concert with the BHC. In addition, players, coaches and staff members will dedicate volunteer efforts to Black History Month at projects throughout Northeast Ohio. Details regarding these volunteer events will be announced soon.
“The achievements and contributions of African Americans, past and present, are far-reaching and an important part of our community in Cleveland and the history of our nation,” said Campy Russell, Cavaliers Legend and director of alumni relations. “We celebrate and recognize these accomplishments every day and work to provide opportunities for African Americans in Northeast Ohio throughout the year. The BHC provides us the platform to tell these stories with a deeper emphasis to inspire our fans and budding heroes of tomorrow.”
Signature Black Heritage Celebration theme nights and events in January and February include:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day: January 20th vs New York Knicks at 5:00 p.m.
The special early-evening game will remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the pastor, activist and humanitarian who led the African American civil rights movements. The Warrensville Heights-based Word Church Choir with special guest soloists will sing the national anthem followed by a performance of the song “Glory” and a corresponding dramatically-themed iteration of player introductions. The Word Church will later come back to the court for a special halftime performance.
February 1st vs Golden State Warriors at 8:00 p.m.
Cleveland’s Shaw High School Marching Band will team up with the 216Stix, the Cavaliers rhythm pounding drumline for a sure-to-be high energy halftime performance. The Shaw High School Marching Band became world-famous after their opening ceremonies performance at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. In addition, the Cavs will recognize participants from this season’s annual Marcus Graham Project workshop (more information below).
Taste of Black Cleveland: The Food Showcase 3.0: February 10th at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
In continued partnership between the NAACP, The Real Black Friday, the Cavs and Aramark, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will welcome 20 black chefs who own local Cleveland restaurants, food trucks and catering businesses to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Taste of Black Cleveland: The Food Showcase 3.0. After very successful events in 2017 and 2018, The Food Showcase 3.0 (formerly the Launch Test Kitchen Food Tasting & Business Development Experience) has expanded from an annual private tasting and industry event to a public celebration of food and opportunity as part of Cleveland’s dynamic restaurant landscape.
Tickets are $30 and include admission and food at The Food Showcase 3.0 and one ticket to the BHC Cavs vs. Philadelphia 76ers game on Wednesday, February 26th. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://rocketmortgagefieldhouse.com/thefoodshowcase3.0 or at the Box Office at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Proceeds from The Food Showcase 3.0 tickets will benefit Cleveland NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students, and the Cavaliers Community Foundation (CCF), supporting programs for children, families and young adults designed to positively impact the community in the areas of education, health, recreation, employment, entrepreneurship and life skills.
Previous winners include Tiwanna Scott-Williams in 2017, whose unique and flavorful comfort food concept called Pearl’s Kitchen can now be found on the main street-level concourse at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Other previous winners include Chef Vic Searcy (Sauce The City) and Chef Sonia Steele (Vegan Vicki), who have items featured on menus in the Budweiser Brew House and in premium spaces around Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, respectively.
February 12th vs Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 p.m.
As a nod to the Cavaliers 50th season, the team will dedicate halftime to remember the over 60 African American trailblazers who have been honored by the team over the previous 15 years of the BHC. Past honorees include Harrison Dillard; a lifelong Clevelander who was a four-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field; Toni Morrison, another Cleveland-native and Nobel laureate in literature; Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of Cleveland and of any major U.S. city; among many others.
February 26th vs Philadelphia 76ers at 7:00 p.m.
Fans are in for a treat as the Cavaliers welcome the award-winning Detroit Youth Choir to the court for a special halftime performance. The DYC placed second on the past season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent with powerful covers of radio hits like Carrie Underwood's "The Champion” and Panic! at the Disco's "High Hopes.” CLICK HERE to watch the Choir perform on AGT. In addition, the Cavs will welcome alumni of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to celebrate the schools and their academic contributions throughout the game presentation.
Cavs BHC Extends to the Classroom
In addition to the celebration on the court, the Cavs have teamed up with the Marcus Graham Project to host the 6th annual Sports Marketing Workshop for diverse students and professionals interested in a sports marketing career. The workshop will take place January 29th through February 1st at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Marcus Graham Project is a network of diverse professionals formed with the purpose of developing the next generation of leadership by mentoring and training ethnically diverse men and women in all aspects of the advertising, media and marketing industry. Over the last five years, alumni of the Cavs MGP workshop have landed jobs throughout the industry, including six who now work, or have previously worked, within the Cavs organization.
Workshop participants will receive first-hand knowledge from some of today’s top executives in the Sports Marketing industry. One standout participant from the workshop will earn the opportunity to be sponsored by the Cavs to attend MGP's iCR8 Summer Boot Camp in Dallas, Texas. All participants will be recognized at the Cavaliers game on February 1st vs the Golden State Warriors.
To register for the MGP workshop, visit jobs.lever.co/marcusgrahamproject
More Exciting BHC Activities!
The Cavs have also teamed up with MARTK’D, Culture Junkie and Yellowbrick to host a “Art on Sneaker” community engagement initiative. The program is designed to provide opportunity to individuals that are exploring career paths that align with their passions, including sneakers, fashion, sports, music and media.
As part of the unique activation, the Cavs will host 50 of Northeast Ohio’s most talented emerging artists in a competition to design a blank white sneaker with limited time and in front of a live audience. Multiple winners from the competition will be awarded scholarship money.
In addition to the celebration on the court and in the classroom, staff members across the Cavaliers organization will have the opportunity to attend a screening of the movie Just Mercy. The movie will be followed by a roundtable discussion, as well as the organization's annual soul food luncheon, which is a BHC tradition.
Fans can engage online and in social media throughout the month by visiting cavs.com/BHC and following the #CavsBHC hashtag on Twitter (@cavs), Instagram (@cavs), Facebook (Facebook.com/Cavs) and Snapchat (cavs).