Culture Hack

Who Runs The World? Yardrunners 

There is no better time to highlight trailblazers at the intersection of change, innovation, and forward mobility than Women’s History Month. The National Women’s History Alliance announced 2023’s Women’s History Month theme as “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” Many brands have elevated women in a transformative way, but one of our favorites is the “Nike Yardrunners” which underscores the importance of elevating the intersectionality of Black women.  

The collection, which launched in 2020, celebrates the storied history of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) by featuring apparel from 19 of these prestigious schools. Nike “is on a mission to preserve and support the integrity that is rooted in these foundational colleges and universities.” Each year, Nike Yardrunners releases a unique cohort that upholds that year’s lane of success: 

  • The first cohort recognizes HBCU business owners and entrepreneurs 
  • The second cohort recognizes the duality of student-athletes 
  • The third cohort recognizes HBCU alumni paving a legacy to uplift future generations

Last year, Nike collaborated with four Black Yardrunner women on the design of the new Nike Dunk Lows. The shoes were specifically designed to highlight four HBCUs and leveraged the women’s experiences as inspirationThe experience of attending an HBCU as a Black woman is one that deserves the spotlight. As this year’s theme is “Celebrating Women who tell our stories,” these four Black women embody the epitome of Black success, determination, duality, and the reality of our ancestor’s wildest dreams.

Representing Nike Dunk Lows for Tennessee State University (TSU)

Kalynn Terrell 
Nike Alumni Year: Yardrunners 1.0 
Craft: Fashion Designer and Business owner

Kalynn has turned her craft into a business where she is able to be the reality of her own dream. She is now the owner of her fashion brand Nose In The Air, which enables tall women to style baggy fashion with ease. 

Representing Nike Low Dunks for Florida A&M University (FAMU)

Caitlyn Davis
Nike Alumni Year: Yardrunners 1.0 
Craft: Business Owner   

While at FAMU, Caitlyn was able to understand the ins and outs of what it takes to be a business owner. Now as an alumna, Caitlyn is the business owner of her apparel Be Great. After designing the Nike Dunk Lows, Caitlyn expressed to an interviewer:“We were able to talk to big Nike leaders and show them that HBCUs are the culture, and we are the ones driving the dollars to their shoes.”

Representing Nike Dunk Low for Clark Atlanta University (CAU)

Heather Haynes 
Nike Alumni Year: Yardrunners 1.0
Craft: Global Marketer and Producer 

Member of CAU’s 40 under 40 Young Alumni Achievement award, Haynes was able to leave a lasting legacy at her alma mater. Her love for fashion grew at CAU and was able to fuel her creative mind when designing the shoe. 

Representing Nike Low Dunks for North Carolina A&T University (NCAT)

Arial Robinson
Nike Alumni Year: Yardrunners 2.0 
Craft: Multimedia Journalism  

During Arial’s time at NCAT, she was named 2021 HBCU Creative of the Year,  2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar, and the author of the books: The Modern-Day Black Alphabet and Black Hair Care in Color. She recalled to an interviewer, “I was really excited but also really blessed that someone would trust my vision, especially being so young, a Black woman at an HBCU. A lot of times we don’t get those opportunities, so to have that opportunity and tell a greater story that gets people physically moving on campus, it’s amazing and super monumental” Robinson said.

-Kimberly Heard