Virtual marching band competition honors Aretha Franklin, awards University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff $5,000


Today would be the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s 79th birthday. National Geographic’s “GENIUS: ARETHA” and Watch The Bands, an online platform that focuses on preserving and promoting the marching band and dance culture of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), announced the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Marching Band as the winner of “All Hail The Queen: HBCU Band Tribute.”

The competition showcased four different HBCU bands from Alabama A & M University, Alabama State University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Kentucky State University, all of whom performed Franklin’s greatest hits. The bands were judged based on musical and visual presentation, creativity, auxiliary and percussion.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was crowned the winner and recipient of the $5,000 prize. “All Hail the Queen” was hosted by actor and producer Lance Gross who is best known for his role as Calvin Payne on Tyler Perry’s sitcom “House of Payne.”

National Geographic’s “GENIUS: ARETHA” is available to watch on Hulu. The series honors the Queen of Soul’s legacy and impact on music, history and culture. Emmy Award winner Cynthia Erivo plays the role of Aretha Franklin. The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment and includes an all-star cast comprised of Emmy-winning actor Courtney B. Vance, “Arrested Development’s” David Cross, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Pauletta Washington, Malcolm Barrett and Marque Richardson.

Fifteen colleges screened “GENIUS: ARETHA, “which is the third installment of National Geographic’s “Genius” anthology series, featuring Picasso and Einstein as the faces of the campaign for the series.