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‘The Shop Uninterrupted’ to conduct live tapings at historically Black universities

LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s show coming to Tennessee State, Hampton and North Carolina A&T

The usual setting of the Emmy Award-winning series The Shop UNINTERRUPTED is a barbershop full of artists, entertainers, athletes and advocates engaging in raw conversations. But during homecoming season, The Shop will record episodes at historically Black colleges and universities.

This fall, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Company will launch The Shop UNINTERRUPTED HBCU Tour, conducting live tapings of the show at Tennessee State University, Hampton University and North Carolina A&T State University.

“We selected these three schools for various reasons, including their impact and how they empower their students,” The Shop co-creator Paul Rivera told Andscape. “From Tennessee State being the first HBCU to launch a hockey program, North Carolina A&T being the largest HBCU that graduates the most Black engineers in America, and Hampton’s rich history with housing the oldest museum of the African diaspora in the U.S., these schools are trailblazers in their own right.”

Besides the live tapings, there will be a festival on the main yard of each campus, including a kiosk for students to apply for the AT&T Dream In Black Rising Future Makers Showcase, an accessible display of the new Toyota Grand Highlander, and Twix giveaways.

The tour’s first stop will be on Friday at Tennessee State. The live taping will feature Rivera as host; actor and comedian Kevin Fredericks, professionally known as KevOnStage, as guest co-host; and special guests actress and producer Crystal Renee and music producer and songwriter Key Wane.

Tennessee State president Glenda Glover believes homecoming is the perfect time to give HBCUs recognition.

“We are pleased to be a part of The Shop’s HBCU tour and to kick off the initiative that will bring awareness to our institutions,” Glover told Andscape. “TSU has an amazing history, outstanding students and distinguished alumni, and we are excited to share this with the world, especially during our homecoming celebration.”

Although the tapings will occur during homecoming, Rivera said, he wants to discuss topics that are deeper than entertainment.

“With talking to the schools, one of the conversation starters throughout the tour will be highlighting that HBCUs are much more than homecoming,” Rivera said. “We want to focus on what HBCUs are at their core and go beyond the fun festivities. We are excited to find ways to amplify the schools and celebrate their missions and students to continue to further the school’s reach and exposure.”

The second stop of the tour will be on Oct. 27 at Hampton. Rivera and Carter will co-host the taping, and they will be joined by special guests who have yet to be announced. Taco Bell also will host a concert featuring a surprise artist and present a $25,000 donation from the Taco Bell Foundation to the university’s music and arts program.

Hampton president Darrell Williams believes being one of the three HBCUs selected for the tour is a testament to the university’s prominence.

“To be one of three HBCUs chosen … is an honor and a testament to the brilliance of our students, our rich culture and the work we have accomplished to deliver the No. 1 student experience in America,” Williams told Andscape. “We are thrilled to welcome The Shop’s HBCU tour and celebrate the opportunity to gather for cuts, community and conversation that our students will seal into the history books of their time here at Hampton.”

Several HBCU alums are helping the SpringHill Company facilitate the tour. Condra Magee, director of The Shop, graduated from Florida A&M University. Maxine Dior Chapman, senior communications manager for SpringHill, is a 2015 graduate of Howard University. Aaron Holbert, SpringHill’s head of business and legal affairs, is a 1998 graduate of Clark Atlanta University. 

“HBCUs are increasingly becoming the first choice for some of the nation’s most sought-after talents,” Rivera said. “Barbershops and HBCUs hold important roles within Black and Brown communities. Both are cornerstones in cultivating and educating the next generation of Black and Brown thought leaders.”

The tour’s last stop will be on Nov. 2 at North Carolina A&T. The live taping also will feature Rivera and Carter as co-hosts, as well as special guests who have yet to be announced.

“We’re excited about this project and all the great work that UNINTERRUPTED and LeBron James are doing to share HBCU excellence more significantly on a national stage,” said North Carolina A&T chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “Having them here during the Greatest Homecoming on Earth will give America a chance to see what makes this celebration and our university so special.”

Rivera believes what separates The Shop from other series is its authenticity, as most series are heavily edited or scripted.

“It is at the core of what differentiates The Shop from other shows,” Rivera said. “Anyone tuning in to watch the show will see the variety of topics and be able to relate to the conversation. Our viewers can always count on hearing the real stories.”

More than anything, Rivera wants the conversations to resonate with students. 

“We hope students can gain insights from the conversation,” Rivera said. “We hope that students hearing about the journey from people they admire helps them see that everyone didn’t become a success overnight, and the journey is all a part of the process.”

For more information on The Shop UNINTERRUPTED HBCU Tour and to reserve your spot, visit The Shop Live Tour.

Kamryn Jackson, a 2024 Rhoden Fellow, is a senior multimedia journalism major from Prince George’s County, Maryland. In the fall she will serve as the managing editor of The A&T Register and president of Associated Sports Press Editors. Her favorite sport to play is volleyball, and her favorite sport to watch is basketball.