USC Black Alumni Association Scholarship Benefit

Black Alumni Association Afro Ball scholarship gala

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Join us for a night of elegance, rhythm and celebration at our USC BAA 48th Annual Scholarship Benefit. This year we’re launching the Afro Ball, a brand-new BAA gala tradition! This spectacular event will feature the theme “Empowering Minds, Illuminating Futures” and will raise funds to support scholarships and programs for USC students. It will showcase and honor the rich tapestry of African American culture, while fostering unity and excellence within our community.

Afro Ball Highlights

Awards Presentation

In addition to honoring our BAA Scholars, we’re recognizing three exemplary Black Trojans. The Emé Award will go to Reggie Bush, legendary USC Trojans running back, 2010 Super Bowl champion and 2023 College Football Hall of Famer. Our Outstanding Alumna is Ayanna Howard MS ’94, PhD ’99, dean of The Ohio State University School of Engineering and a member of the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee. Our Outstanding Alumnus is Prentice Penny ’95, an accomplished writer, director and producer.

Reggie Bush
Ayanna Howard
Prentice Penny
Avalon Hollywood

Special Location

Avalon Hollywood & Bardot, at the world-famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine, is a fully restored 1927 live-entertainment venue with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and visuals. We’ll be enjoying three floors of social interaction and immersive fun!

Attire

Wear your finest, formal African-inspired or black-tie attire to fill the room with a dazzling display that highlights the beauty and diversity of our heritage (think Wakanda meets the Met Gala!).

couple in matching party attire
couple in matching party attire
woman wears a bright yellow dress to a Black Alumni Association event
man playing the trumpet

Live Entertainment

Enjoy electrifying performances by talented artists, dancers and musicians, including a live Afrobeats band, a DJ, surprise guests and a special performance by USC Thornton students and the Cardinal Divas of SC.

Gourmet Cuisine

Indulge in a delectable and international culinary experience, featuring a tapestry of heavy hors d’oeuvres and tantalizing desserts, complemented by a full bar.

skewers

Join us on March 30 to support the mission and legacy of the USC Black Alumni Association.

2024 Honorees

Congratulations to Our 2024 Honorees!

Emé Award

Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush

Legendary USC Trojans Running Back
2010 Super Bowl Champion
2023 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee

Reggie Bush is a former NFL player and one of the most heralded athletes in college football history. His professional career began in 2006, when he was selected second overall by the New Orleans Saints in the NFL draft. During his five seasons with the Saints, Bush, as a punt receiver, was named an All-Pro in 2008 by The Sporting News. In 2010, he helped the Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts to win the Super Bowl. Bush went on to play for the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills before retiring from the NFL in 2017.

In his three seasons as a USC running back, Bush helped the Trojans win the 2003 and 2004 National Championships and play in a pair of Rose Bowls and an Orange Bowl. In 2005, he received the Doak Walker Award, which recognizes a football player’s outstanding performance on the field, as well as his achievements in the community and in the classroom. Bush was also named the 2005 Player of the Year by the Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

Today, Bush seeks to support causes that directly benefit the youth of San Diego, his hometown, through his foundation, the 619 Charitable Fund.

From 2019 to 2023, Bush served as a college football studio analyst for Fox Sports. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Lilit, and their three children: Briseis, Uriah and Agyemang.


Outstanding Alumna Award

Ayanna Howard

Ayanna Howard MS ’94, PhD ’99

Dean, The Ohio State University College of Engineering Member, National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee

Ayanna Howard is an accomplished roboticist, entrepreneur and educator who made history in 2021, when she became the first woman dean of The Ohio State University College of Engineering. She previously served as the chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing, as well as the founder and director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAns). This lab uses techniques such as sensing and learning to enhance the autonomous capabilities of robots or other computerized systems.

From 1993 to 2005, Howard worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). During her tenure at JPL, she served as the senior robotics researcher and deputy manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist, and also played a key role in developing SmartNav, an autonomous, next-generation Mars rover.

Howard’s unique accomplishments have been recognized by numerous organizations. In 2015, Business Insider named her “one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world.” Three years later, Forbes named her to its 2018 list of “America’s Top Women in Tech.” In 2022, she was appointed to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC). 

Howard’s current research encompasses a wide range of areas, from pediatric robots to mitigating bias in AI. She is the author of the bestselling audiobook, Sex, Race, and Robots: How to Be Human in the Age of AI, and has been profiled in TimeUSA Today and Vanity Fair.

Howard earned both her master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.


Outstanding Alumnus Award

Prentice Penny

Prentice Penny ’95

Writer, Director, Producer

Prentice Penny is a writer, director and producer best known for his role as the showrunner for the award-winning HBO series Insecure. During its five-year run, the culture-shifting comedy about two Black women in contemporary Los Angeles earned rave reviews and several honors, including a Peabody Award, seven NAACP Image Awards and 12 Emmy nominations.

A Los Angeles native, Penny began his television career as a staff writer on the sitcom Girlfriends. He later served as a co-producer on Scrubs, a supervising producer on the cult favorite Happy Endings, and as a co-executive producer and writer on the Golden Globe-winning comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Through his multimedia production company, A Penny for Your Thoughts Entertainment, Penny co-created the HBO series PAUSE with Sam Jay, which used a late-night talk show format to explore cultural issues. He is currently directing A People’s History of Black Twitter, a three-part docuseries for Onyx Collective/Hulu based on a 2021 Wired article, as well as the Onyx Collective comedy pilot, Not Cops.

In addition to his work for television, Penny wrote and directed the acclaimed film Uncorked, which premiered on Netflix in 2020.

A dedicated USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) alum, Penny launched The First Up program at the school in 2022. The program is designed to provide opportunities for SCA student writers of color to gain real-world work experience by developing and pitching their ideas for film and television projects to studios and networks.

Ticket Information

Tickets

Individual Tickets – includes one (1) unassigned seat

  • Early bird pricing (available until Feb. 29) – $550
  • General sale – $650

Young Alumni Tickets (USC alumni 35 and under) – includes one (1) unassigned seat

  • Early bird pricing (available until Feb. 29) – $250
  • General sale – $350

Sponsorship Information

Sponsorships

Imani (Title) Sponsorship Level – $100,000 | 1 Available

  • Event naming opportunity
  • VIP opera box and table (seating for 20 guests + 20 scholars)
  • Access to exclusive VIP lounge (20 guests)
  • Podium recognition during the event
  • Cover + two-page advertisement in digital event program*
  • Logo recognition on event collateral, BAA website, and social media*
  • Linked logo recognition on BAA website for one year
  • Product placement opportunity
  • Title logo placement on the step-and-repeat*
  • Champagne service at your booth and table

Umoja (Unity) Sponsorship Level – $50,000 | 2 Available

  • VIP opera box and table seating for 20 guests
  • Access to exclusive VIP lounge (20 guests)
  • Podium recognition during the event
  • Two-page advertisement in digital event program*
  • Logo recognition on event collateral, BAA website, and social media*
  • Linked logo recognition on BAA website for one year
  • Product placement opportunity
  • Logo placement on the step-and-repeat*
  • Champagne service at your booth and table

Nia (Purpose) Sponsorship Level – $25,000 | 13 Available

  • Premier table seating for eight (8) guests
  • Recognition during the event
  • Full-page advertisement in digital event program*
  • Logo recognition on event collateral, BAA website, and social media*
  • Linked logo recognition on BAA website for one year
  • VIP Reception with access to exclusive VIP lounge

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) Sponsorship Level – $15,000 | 5 Available

  • Premier booth seating for eight (8) guests
  • Recognition during the event
  • Full-page advertisement in digital event program*
  • Logo recognition on event collateral, BAA website, and social media*
  • VIP Reception with access to exclusive VIP lounge

Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility) Sponsorship Level – $7,500 | 8 Available

  • Preferred balcony seating for eight (8) guests
  • Half-page advertisement in digital event program*
  • Digital recognition during the event*
  • Logo recognition on event collateral, BAA website, and social media*
  • VIP Reception with access to exclusive VIP lounge

Rafiki (Friend of BAA) Sponsorship Level – $5,500 | 20 Available

  • 10 unassigned seating tickets
  • VIP afterparty access
  • Half-page digital ad*

Activation Sponsorships

Red Carpet Step-and-Repeat Inclusion – $50,000 | 2 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 4 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Full-page advertisement in digital event program

Branded Bar in Bardot, Featured Bar in VIP Level – $20,000 | 1 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 4 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Full-page advertisement in digital event program

Photobooth – $15,000 | 1 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 4 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Full-page advertisement in digital event program

Aerialist Performance and Branded Bars on Balcony – $10,000 | 1 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 2 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Half-page advertisement in digital event program

Digital Passport and Awards – $10,000 | 1 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 2 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Half-page advertisement in digital event program

Boutique Activation featuring futuristic makeup artist – $7,000 | 1 Available

  • Custom branded activation
  • Digital recognition during the event
  • 2 VIP tickets plus access to exclusive VIP lounge
  • Half-page advertisement in digital event program

Program Advertisement

Full-Page

  • Corporations & Associations – $1,000
  • Individuals (no corporate logo) – $500

Half-Page

  • Corporations & Associations – $500
  • Individuals (no corporate logo) – $250

*Please Note: Any content required for digital ads must be submitted no later than March 15, 2024.

Dinner sponsorships and tickets are tax-deductible, less the $200 cost per person for food and beverage. Charitable contributions are fully tax deductible. USC tax identification #95-1642394

Scholarship Benefit Photos