BET travels to ‘The Hill’ with tour

Black Entertainment Television and its key marketing partners headed back to “The Hill” for its fifth appearance Wednesday to bring their sixth annual BET Black College Tour. The tour featured a performance by rapper Ja Rule.

Dressed in a pink and turquoise reversible hoodie and jeans with stylish sneakers, Ja Rule approached the stage to greet the audience. By the end of the performance, that was earlier crowded with FAMU men and women, stood Ja Rule in front of a crowd of women while he was stripped down to nothing but his jeans and shoes. Men stood off in the distance to watch Ja Rule perform.

Although Ja Rule’s deep, raspy voice gave a salute to “the thick, beautiful women at FAMU,” he had a different and more positive message. “I try to do everything I can to support the black colleges because I never been [to college],” Ja Rule said.

Michelle Garner, vice president of Consumer Engagement for BET, also had a positive response for BET’s purpose of doing the Black College Tour.

“This [college students] is BET’s audience. It’s a matter of an outreach to them to show BET’s support of historically black colleges and universities,” Garner said.

Garner said the event was a way to support HBCU’s and BET’S key marketing partners.

“The tour sponsors were there to provide engaging and informative entertainment and professional networking opportunities for students,” Gardner said. “This gave them an opportunity to outreach and have one-on-one interaction with the kids as well.”

Sponsors provided product samples that were distributed by way of games, sign-ups, and raffle tickets. McDonald’s gave away a laptop during its poetry contest; another sponsor donated a PlayStation 3.

“All the many activities that come visit FAMU to support black students is what I miss most,” said Nicole Powell, a FAMU alumna and a FSU graduate student from Chicago. “FAMU is the best place to get a good education academically and culturally.”

Other sponsored activities included: A singing competition sponsored by the upcoming Sony Pictures’ film, “This Christmas”; PlayStation Video Challenge; and health information via the “Rap It Up,” U.S. Air Force and Gardasil tent.

Annual sponsored activities include: A free concert by a well-known and up-and-coming Universal Records artist, Verizon Wireless 3-point basketball shootout, McDonald’s poetry contest, Pepsi Flow freestyle rap battle, and a U.S. Air Force 2-on-2 basketball competition.

The 2007 BET Black College Tour at FAMU will air on BET soon.