Nashville, TN – In a unique blend of sports, art, and cultural recognition, the Nashville Predators are set to don a special jersey for their Black History Month (BHM) observance, designed by Tennessee State University’s own Kaleena Sales. The reveal of this distinct design will take place at the Predators’ Black History Celebration game on January 31 at the Bridgestone Arena.
Kaleena Sales, an Associate Professor and Chair of the Art and Design Department at TSU, expressed her excitement and honor in being selected to represent both TSU and Nashville’s Black community through her design. “To be celebrated professionally in such a public way means something to me. It speaks to the growth that we’ve had, and it honors what Black History Month celebration should really be about,” Sales said.
This collaboration for the second consecutive year between TSU and the Predators highlights the ongoing efforts to acknowledge and celebrate Black creativity and history. The unique jerseys and T-shirts, co-created with Predators graphic designer Tayshaun Hassell, will be worn by players upon their arrival at the arena and later auctioned off through the Nashville Predators’ Foundation.
Amy Bratten, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Nashville Predators, commended the artistry of Sales and Hassell, emphasizing the educational and dynamic nature of their creation. “Our players and staff are excited to showcase the artwork on January 31. We’re excited to have the logo displayed all over Smashville!” she said.
Sales’ design features vibrant West African patterns symbolizing values like purity, wisdom, and harmony. The black and gold jerseys and T-shirts incorporate Adinkra symbols, designed by the Akan people of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in the early 1800s, alongside geometric patterns representing contemporary Black culture.
Highlighting her over 20 years of experience as a graphic designer, Sales noted the significance of this opportunity, not only for her professional career but also for the visibility it brings to TSU and surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Predator’s annual Black History celebration night will also honor Nashville’s four HBCUs. The event will feature a battle of the bands with three local high schools, along with performances by African-American musical artists, including the National Anthem.
In 2023, TSU assistant professor of graphic design, Eric Jackson, was selected to create the player’s jersey designs for the Black History Celebration game day warm-ups, marking the start of this fruitful partnership.
Dr. Samantha Morgan Curtis, dean of TSU’s College of Liberal Arts, expressed gratitude for the Predators’ recognition of TSU’s faculty brilliance. She noted the impact of this partnership on the university’s graphic design program and the upcoming State of Black Design Conference hosted by TSU in March.
For more information about the Predators Black History celebration and to purchase Professor Sales’ custom design T-shirt, fans are encouraged to visit the official website.