First Take kicks off November with back-to-back roadshows at two HBCUs with a special connection to the show.
First Take’s HBCU homecoming will bring iconic alums First Take featured commentator and executive producer Stephen A. Smith and Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe back to their alma maters, Winston-Salem State (Nov. 7) and Savannah State (Nov. 6), respectively.
That means two shows on back-to-back days at campuses hosting the full show, in person, for the first time.
Brandy Tate, First Take director and a Tennessee State University grad, is one of the key leaders behind the scenes making these shows look flawless for everyone watching.
Before it all goes live, Tate shared her perspective on the upcoming shows.
(Watch Tate preparing for last year’s HBCU Week First Take show from the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando)
On the impact of Stephen A. and First Take’s continued efforts to showcase and celebrate HBCUs:
Stephen A. is one the most prominent faces of HBCUs and because of what he has achieved, he has set a great example for what others can achieve. First Take’s dedication to bring a spotlight on HBCUs is immeasurable. Normally only big schools get a lot of hype and love, but First Take is a game changer in the way we are disrupting the game and creating a path for HBCUs and their alums. If we keep shining that light, I only expect greater things to come.
🗣️ @FirstTake's HBCU Homecoming is almost here!
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) November 2, 2023
On what to look forward to for each show:
We know how much WSSU means to Stephen A., who proudly represents his alma mater every chance he gets. We want to show the audience that bond. We hope that everyone can get a better understanding of what HBCUs mean to us and the opportunities that they provide to communities and individuals. This is our first time visiting SSU, and we hope to showcase HBCU culture but also give the audience a deeper look into “Club Shay-Shay” and who he is. The debate has been brewing behind the scenes of whose school is the best HBCU and I must remind them that it’s Tennessee State University!
On advice to current HBCU students hoping to be in a similar role one day:
Since the age of 16, my goal was to work at ESPN, and I never thought it would actually happen. And now to see my dream come to fruition is unreal. I would tell young people to never give up! You will get a lot of no’s during your quest, but it only takes one yes to open the door. Once you open that door, don’t forget to bring someone with you.
On unique logistical challenges at new locations:
Logistically, it can be a nightmare because on-location numerous things can go wrong, but that’s where quick wit and knowledge comes in to play. Fortunately, I have a team where everyone has each other’s back. That’s paramount!