N.C. A&T’s Blue & Gold Marching Machine deserves more support


Kamryn Jackson , theSCORE Lead Reporter

Despite N.C. A&T’s Blue & Gold Marching Machine (BGMM) being named band of the year by HBCU Sports for the third consecutive year, they do not get nearly the amount of support they deserve from the university.

Whenever someone talks about the culture surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the marching band is top of the list. HBCU marching bands are at the center of what makes the ‘HBCU experience’ so incredibly memorable and unique compared to other universities.

From the halftime performances at football games to the electrifying energy throughout parades, BGMM is an essential part of what makes the experience at N.C. A&T so worthwhile.

BGMM gives N.C. A&T more publicity and recognition and that should be noticed. Recently, BGMM was invited to Orlando, Florida, to the Walt Disney World Resort for HBCU week, where they competed in a “Battle of the Bands” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

BGMM also had the opportunity to march throughout the Walt Disney World Resort for high school students to see and hopefully consider attending an HBCU themselves. BGMM’s trip to the Walt Disney World Resort made national news, which was ultimately great for N.C. A&T.

In spite of all of the success BGMM brings to N.C. A&T, BGMM does not receive proper assistance from the higher-ups at the university.

Junior business information student, Cold Steel member and initiate of The Iota Zeta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Tashaun Staples spoke on the band’s lack of funding in an interview.

“I can count on my hand the number of people I know on scholarship in the band, yet many other people have full rides at other universities,” Staples said. “N.C A&T does not provide the band with the correct funding, which forces us to make it work with what we have.”

In recent years, there has been a skyrocket in social awareness throughout the country, specifically in supporting more HBCUs. In 2021, N.C. A&T ended the fiscal year receiving over $90 million in individual, corporate and foundation grants. Since 2021, N.C. A&T’s endowment has grown to $157.5 million.

With all of the support that A&T has gotten within the last couple of years, there are fewer and fewer excuses as to why there cannot be more funding for the band, especially when BGMM gives N.C. A&T such a positive appearance.

Junior construction management student and Cold Steel member Malik Seabrook spoke on what needs to happen to facilitate more funding for the band.

“I feel it has to start with the students speaking up for us. If students start speaking up about the band receiving more funding and resources, I believe it will persuade the higher-ups to start taking more initiative,” Seabrook said.

Seabrook makes a good point. Without the students, there is no N.C. A&T. As a student body, we must understand that we have more leverage than we think. N.C. A&T partially runs off of our money and we must advocate for issues we feel are important.

The individuals interviewed are part of the “Cold Steel Drummers,” a particular section within BGMM. Cold Steel is one of the most legendary sectors within BGMM.

Junior computer graphics student Quinton Brown mentioned what makes Cold Steel unique.

“I can put it in three words; Hardest, Most Reliable. That is the only way I could put it,” Brown said.

Brown feels that what differentiates Cold Steel from other entities is that they are the hardest working and you can always count on them to show out.

The “Cold Steel Drummers” are a particular sector in BGMM and are the most followed entity on N.C. A&T’s campus, with over 100k followers on Instagram. It’s ironic how one of the most popular groups on campus is also one of the least funded.

BGMM is too prominent on the campus of N.C. A&T for there to be such a lack of funding for the program. In the years to come, it is with sincere hopes that BGMM should undoubtedly receive more financial support from the university; they are more than deserving of any amount of money that comes their way.