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Wanda Sykes, Lil Rel Howery, and Aflac Partner with HBCU All-Star Game Amid Men's Final Four

Aflac is featuring "Pre-Pain" Show with entertainers Wanda Sykes and Lil Rel Howery, in support for the inaugural HBCU All-Star Game in New Orleans, LA.

Aflac is featuring "Pre-Pain" Show with entertainers Wanda Sykes and Lil Rel Howery, in support for the inaugural HBCU All-Star Game in New Orleans, LA.

Aflac's "Pre-Pain Show" features comedians Wanda Sykes and Lil Rel Howery. The campaign runs throughout March Madness as a partnership with the NCAA tournament to show fans the gap between what health insurance covers and where medical bills begin to pile up. 

Also, Aflac and the entertainers are supporting the HBCU All-Star Game that will take place in New Orleans, LA, on Sunday, Apr. 3, the day before the Men's Basketball Championship.

Sykes Howery HBC Legend

Shannon Watkins, the Chief Marketing Officer of Aflac, noted about Sykes and Howery, "we're excited to continue to raise awareness about the gap between where health insurance ends and where medical bills begin to pile up. That's where Aflac comes in. We could think of no better ambassadors to bring that to life than Lil Rel Howery and Wanda Sykes."

Sykes and Howery spoke with me about Aflac, the HBCU All-Star Game, NCAA basketball, and Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders.  

After their first meeting, Sykes, an HBCU graduate of Hampton University, was highly impressed with Aflac. If someone's going through cancer treatment, "it covers all those costs that you incur and things that we don't even think about." Most people don't consider the high costs associated with cancer, accidents, and other serious illnesses. 

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As the first LGBTQ+ woman of color anchoring Aflac's campaign, Skyes understands the common plight of the average person and family. "How are you going to get to the doctor? Who's going to take care of your kids while at the doctor, and just all of those costs?" Sykes said.

Howery is also bringing attention to Colon Cancer Awareness Month during March Madness. He shared, "I lost my mom and middle brother to cancer. It [cancer] has been a dark cloud over my family, but I think that's why I felt honored to be a part of this campaign. I feel like I'm honoring my mom and my brother by being able to inform people about what's going on. I'm proud of Aflac for not being scared to step up to the plate and do that."


Colorectal cancer disproportionately impacts the black community, with the highest racial and ethnic group rates in the United States. African Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than most other groups. And so this March, we wanted to put not only the March Madness that happens on the court on full display but use it as an opportunity to remind communities of color and all people across this country to go get their colon cancer screening," Watkins mentioned.


Sykes is an avid fan of HBCU sports. She thinks highly of the success and impact Jackson State's head coach Deion Sanders had made for HBCUs. "Amazing!" Sykes stated. "Coach Sanders, I'm so proud. I follow him on Instagram. He's inspiring. I love that he's so visible where he puts it all out there. That's what you get from HBCUs, where the coaches, they care. They love you and want the best for our kids. I'm just so proud of him, and just so grateful that someone of his stature takes the time in doing what he's doing."

Shedeur and Deion Sanders  3

I think it's beautiful. I have to give a shoutout to Aflac for jumping into this. It's amazing. Honestly, Deion Sanders doesn't get a lot of credit for how he stepped up and stood tall. We have the HBCU All-Star Game coming up, and I want to see these bands at halftime. We need to introduce the world to the HBCU culture," Lil Rel Howery commented.

"The landscape of HBCU Sports is influencing the world. Aflac's goal is to maintain a close relationship with the HBCU culture and ethnic groups in need of its services. We will have an experiential footprint on the ground in New Orleans to extend our sponsorship and partnership through the inaugural HBCU All-Star Game. It will put Aflac in a position where more people could understand who we are and our products," stated Aflac's Shannon Watkins.