#BlackGirlMagic: Women band directors make HBCU history

Dr. Kerry Anne Simon, Mississippi Valley State University’s first female band director, and Dr. Nikole Moore Roebuck, the first female director of bands at Grambling State University, recently made history when their bands both performed during a football game. It was the first time in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) that two HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) teams competed against each other with bands led by women. 

Dr. Kerry Anne Simon and Dr. Nikole Moore Roebuck

The MVSU Delta Devils took on the GSU Tigers on Nov. 16. It was on that Saturday afternoon that history was made as the Mean Green Marching Machine and World Famed Tiger Marching Band shared a field in Itta Bena, Miss. Roebuck wrote about it on Facebook, saying, “This is Black Girl Magic at its best!”

Simon, appointed to this position in May 2019, is the first female band director in the history of the SWAC, and Roebuck, who was appointed in June 2019, is the second.

In overall HBCU history, they represent a handful of African American women appointed as band directors, joining Rhonda L. Harper, who was appointed as Lincoln University’s first female band director in 2005 and the first woman band director in HBCU history and Dr. Tomisha Brock, who was appointed as Clark Atlanta University’s first female band director in 2017. Brock is the first female band director in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history. 

Other women appointed as director of bands at HBCUs include Dr. Margaret Young-Weitzel of Claflin University, Fayesha L. Cousins of Virginia Union University and Juliet Boykins of Elizabeth City State University. 

On the collegiate level, women make up roughly 10 percent of band directors nationwide. These trailblazers are working to change that. Now that’s #BlackGirlMagic!

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