Presented by Alaska Airlines, Prairie View A&M Marching Storm to Perform at Halftime on February 25 vs. Charlotte

PORTLAND, Ore. (Feb. 22, 2024) – The Portland Trail Blazers are teaming up with Alaska Airlines to transform this year’s HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to the Pros Night into an entire weekend celebration of the HBCU experience. Members of the famousPrairie View A&M (Prairie View, Texas) Marching Storm Band, led by Director of Bands Dr. Timmey Zachery, will fly to Portland, courtesy of Alaska Airlines, for a weekend of community interaction, celebration, and education. The weekend will conclude with the annual HBCU to the Pros game on February 25 when the Trail Blazers take on the Charlotte Hornets.

In alignment with the NBA, the Trail Blazers prioritize highlighting the traditions and impact of HBCUs and the contributions of Black leaders who belong to historically Black fraternities and sororities and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCUs have served as cultural and intellectual hubs, fostering a sense of identity, pride, and leadership development. They have contributed significantly to Black culture, literature, arts, and sciences and we are excited to showcase those contributions to Rip City throughout the weekend.

“We are ecstatic to travel North by Northwest to bring the only storm fans are looking forward to; The PVAMU Marching Storm!” said Dr. Tim Zachery, Prairie View A&M Director of Bands.

“We want to continue to serve as a catalyst for young brown and Black youth to see themselves reflected in competitive and valued universities nationally by bringing HBCU representation to Portland,” said Michelle Jalali, Portland Trail Blazers Director of DEI. “This way, we are contributing to the pipeline of young people attending and graduating from HBCUs and eventually filtering into the workforce. As a proudmember of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., HBCU to the Pros Night feels extra special because it brings Black history and Black voices to the forefront of our game by bringing traditional HBCU and D9 culture to the Pacific Northwest to both educate and entertain.”

“Alaska Airlines has a long history of connecting Black youth in the Pacific Northwest to educational opportunities at HBCUs and beyond,” said James Thomas, Alaska Airlines’ Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We’re proud to fly in the Prairie View A&M band so Portland can experience the unique energy of HBCUs, and the kids in our community can connect with college students who will inspire their educational goals.”

On Saturday, February 24 the Marching Storm will perform at Junction Ave – a Black business event hosted by Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) which will feature representatives from Alaska Airlines, the Trail Blazers, HBCUs and local Black-owned businesses. On Sunday, February 25, both organizations will put on a private pregame mixer for local youth featuring a career mixer made up of current professionals who are HBCU alumni and members of fraternities and sororities of the Divine 9. As a final celebration of the weekend and HBCU culture, the Marching Storm will provide Rip City an incredible halftime performance during the game versus Charlotte.

The HBCU experience will be felt throughout Moda Center on February 25, as every attendee will receive a booklet upon entering the arena highlighting the night’s activations and entertainment. DJ Drae Slapz, a local DJ and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., will have music bumping pregame as fans venture through the concourse and take in Black History posters highlighting HBCU and D9 alumni who have made significant cultural impact. Throughout the night, special videos will play throughout the arena featuring the Local Portland NPHC Chapter and HBCU Alumni. The night’s National Anthem Singer will be Tiffany Dempsey – member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a proud graduate of PVAMU, and the Director of Community Relations for KairosPDX.

Fans interested in a keepsake for the weekend can swing by the HBCU-themed 360-videobooth to snap a pic, or swing by Rip City Clothing Co. and purchase the specialty retail item of the night – an HBCU Statement hoodie –with proceeds directly supporting SEI. Fans can support the community partner of the night, KairosPDX, through the 5050 Raffle.


Members of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Portland Trail Blazers were founded in 1970 and purchased by the late Paul G. Allen in 1988. The team’s rich heritage includes 37 playoff appearances, three trips to the NBA Finals, an NBA championship in 1977 and a commitment to community service and sustainability. The Trail Blazers are dedicated to positively impacting underserved kids and their families throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington where they live, learn and play. Portland is the first and only professional sports franchise to receive the prestigious National Points of Light Award for excellence in corporate and community service. The Trail Blazers home arena, Moda Center, is the first existing arena to earn LEED Platinum Certification in 2019 after receiving LEED Gold Recertification in 2015 and becoming the first existing professional sports venue in the world to receive LEED Gold status in 2010. The team is also one of the founding members of the Green Sports Alliance. For more information, visit trailblazers.com.