Black history was made at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in California on Tuesday as multiple historically Black college and university (HBCU) marching bands participated in the renowned procession in Pasadena. Not only did one HBCU’s marching band lead the storied parade in its 130th annual installment, but the parade’s Grand Marshal was none other than singing legend Chaka Khan.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Kool & The Gang sang its signature hit, “Celebration,” while riding on one of the parade’s floats. To top it all off, the president of this year’s Tournament of Roses was Gerald Freeny, a Black man — the first time in the parade’s 130-year history that has happened.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to me,” Freeny told NBC News, Los Angeles. “I try not to look at it as being the first African-American president. We have 935 volunteer members. I represent all of them, and they represent the fabric of our communities.”

The combination of the above added up to provide for one of, if not thee, Blackest Rose Parade on record.

The Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets had the coveted honor of leading the parade.

“I’m telling everybody, you have to catch the parade from the beginning, otherwise you are going to miss the best band there is,” Alabama State’s band director James Oliver said ahead of the New Year’s Day event, adding that it’s a “dream come true.”

Florida A&M University’s The Incomparable Marching “100” was also featured in the parade.

“I think it will have a huge impact as it relates to branding for the university,” said Shelby Chipman, director of bands at Florida A&M. “Individuals will see the band name, but more importantly, (TV) viewers will see Florida A&M University, and I think that is going to start a lot of communication through the internet as well as engine searches to the university’s website.”

Hampton University‘s drumline also performed at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

Proud HBCU alumni who couldn’t be there to watch in person viewed the Rose Parade on TV, as shown by dozens and dozens of social media posts that showcased Black college school spirit.

Freeny invited Oliver to apply for a slot at the parade, according to the Montgomery Adviser.

“It’s a historic time, to have the very first African-American president of the Tournament of Roses, and it’s going to go down in history for ASU to have participated in the parade,” Oliver stated.

Putting the two HBCU bands in front of a national audience could inspire a generation of young people, Freeny said.

“For them to see the drumline from Florida A&M and Alabama State, I think it’s gonna give them the energy to say ‘hey, we can play drums.’” Freeny added. “Just give kids more of a vision or give them more of an opportunity of something to think about majoring in college.”

Keep scrolling down to see more photos, video and scenes from the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.

1. Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets

130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda 'The Melody Of Life' Source:Getty

Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets participate in the 130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda ‘The Melody Of Life’ held on January 1, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

2. Florida A&M University marching band performs

2019 Rose Parade Source:Getty

Florida A&M University marching band performs during the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)

3. Chaka Khan, Rose Parade Grand Marshal, performs

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5. Grand Marshall Chaka Khan

130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda 'The Melody Of Life' Source:Getty

Grand Marshall Chaka Khan during the 130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda ‘The Melody Of Life’ held on January 1, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

6. Kool & The Gang perform

2019 Rose Parade Source:Getty

Kool & The Gang perform on Stella Rosa Wines float ‘Taste the Magic’ during the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)

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8. 130th Rose Parade’s ‘The Melody Of Life’

130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda 'The Melody Of Life' Source:Getty

American Honda ‘Celebration of Dreams’ at the 130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda ‘The Melody Of Life’ held on January 1, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

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130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda 'The Melody Of Life' Source:Getty

Carnival Cruise Line ‘Come Sail Away’ at the 130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda ‘The Melody Of Life’ held on January 1, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

10. Chaka Khan performs

2019 Rose Parade Source:WENN

Chaka Khan performs at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2019.

11. HBCU alumni in the house

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33. Gerald Freeny, President for the 2018-2019 Tournament of Roses

2019 Rose Parade Source:Getty

Torrance Rose Float Association President Gerald Freeny rides in the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)

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