Music’s biggest night featured Black excellence and history was made multiple times. Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands had a historic win and 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.
“These kids worked so hard,” Sir shared at the podium. “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 [my] all. We’re here with our pockets empty, but our hands aren’t!”
Just call us Tennessee State University GRAMMY-Award Winning Aristocrat of Bands! We WON in the Best Gospel Roots Album category! TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands has made history as THE 1st COLLEGIATE MARCHING BAND to WIN A GRAMMY!
The Urban Hymnal showcases TSU marching band’s sounds with traditional gospel and lyrics combined with a contemporary/R&B flourish. Sir the Baptist was selected to be Tennessee State University artist-in-residence. They aim to elevate the national profile of HBCUs and connect the gospel with the youth. Austin’s marching band experience is also substantial, from being part of the marching band culture in his youth to executive producing the soundtrack of the 2002 film, Drumline. It was the perfect duo, along with other producers, to bring this album to Grammy-winning status.
Tennessee State’s Grammy win follows yet another historic moment for HBCUs at the Grammys. In 2021, another Nashville HBCU, Fisk University’s Fisk Jubilee Singers won Best Roots Gospel Album for the Celebrating Fisk! album.