During 2012, Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility partnered to fight binge drinking on college campuses. Shaq, who had recently attended film director’s school, worked alongside college students to bring the voice of the students to life by producing student-created videos which addressed the serious issue of binge drinking on campus. The effort launched on National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week 2011, with a new video message each day from Shaq.
The second step for our campaign was to address college binge drinking on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In October of 2012, Shaq and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, presented research at an event on Capitol Hill that gave insight into the differences in drinking behaviors on HBCU and non-HBCU campuses. During this event, Shaq pledged to help The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility develop an innovative way to help combat overconsumption on HBCU campuses.
Since then, Shaq has been working with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to come up with innovative ideas that would strike a chord with students on HBCU campuses. The winning idea was to have Godfrey the Comedian (a friend of Shaq and cohost of “Upload with Shaquille O’Neal” on Tru TV) record a standup routine talking about the foolishness of binge drinking. In early February of 2013, we traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to record a routine with Godfrey prior to his show.
Using humor to address a very serious subject, these standup videos will live on The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s YouTube page and will be advertised online, in HBCU campus newspapers, and will be distributed through social media. Based on focus group feedback, Shaq, Godfrey, and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility believe this innovative approach to the dangers of binge drinking will resonate with students at HBCUs in a real and impactful way.
Godfrey’s key message is “Watch Yourself.” College students believe they are adults and demand to be treated as such; they do not wish to be talked down to or hear other adults preaching to them. Godfrey’s message empowers college students to reconsider their dangerous drinking behaviors and, quite simply, “Watch Yourself.”
As Shaq has said over and over, “this dangerous binge drinking on college campuses has got to stop.”