Compiled–The 65th Grammy Awards kicked off with a historic win as
Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands became the first HBCU marching band to win a Grammy Award on Sunday, Feb. 5. They are also the first marching band to win the Best Roots Gospel Album category for The Urban Hymnal.
The Urban Hymnal/ “Hymnal” was co-produced by songwriter/producer Dallas Austin, artist/songwriter/producer Sir the Baptist and TSU professor Larry Jenkins.
Sir the Baptist, a contemporary artist and songwriter, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
From the podium, Sir the Baptist heaped praise on the young members of the band, calling them “so deserving.”
“These kids worked so hard,” he said. “And to be honest with you guys, HBCUs are so grossly underfunded, to where I had to put my last dime in order to get us across the line. My cousin got us across the line, even when I gave all. We’re here with our pockets empty, but our hands aren’t!”
During his speech, Professor Jenkins also acknowledged and thanked his students, saying “Your hard work and dedication created the pen that allowed you to write your own page in the history books.”
“We all know we made history, but this is also February. We also made Black history.”
The full “Aristocrat of Bands” wasn’t able to accept their win in person, but TSU held an official watch party on campus Sunday afternoon. Video shared on social media shows dozens of students leaping to their feet as the winner is called, quickly breaking into a chant of “AOB! AOB!”