Tennessee State University (TSU) Marching Band Aristocrat of Bands makes history as the first collegiate band to win a Grammy award. The pioneering HBCU band marched home with two historic wins. Read more about this momentous occasion inside.
TSU’s marching band won two Grammy Awards Sunday (Feb. 5). They won one Grammy for their gospel album “The Urban Hymnal” for ‘Best Roots Gospel Album’ and another for their feature on J. Ivy’s “The Poet Who Say By The Door” for ‘Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.’
All of the band’s members couldn’t attend the Grammy’s this year, the school posted a video on Twitter where students gathered on campus for an exciting watch party to witness the milestone live on television.
In the video, students jumped to their feet once the award was presented, belting out, “AOB! AOB!”
Multi-disciplinary contemporary artist and songwriter Sir the Baptist acknowledged the young band members from on stage, calling them “so deserving.” He also shared that many personal investments went into making the win possible, because HBCUs are unfortunately underfunded.
“HBCUS are so grossly underfunded to where I had to put my last dime in order to get us across the line,” Baptist said during his acceptance speech. “We’re here with our pockets empty, but our hands aren’t.”
TSU’s Assistant Band Director Larry Jenkins finished their acceptance speech by thanking school officials, band staff, and the students for all their support.
“Your hard work and dedication created the pen that allowed you to write your own page in the history books,” Jenkins added. “We all know we made history, but this is also February. We also made Black history.”
TSU follows in the footsteps of fellow Tennessee HBCU, Fisk University. In 2021, t Fisk Jubilee Singers won ‘Best Roots Gospel Album’ for “Celebrating Fisk!” during the group’s 150th anniversary.
TSU’s Grammy award-winning Aristocrat of Bands is set to return to the 34th Southern Heritage Classic on September 9, bringing all the sounds fans love live and in action.
Watch their moving acceptance speech below: