Hennessy has expanded its tribute to champion Marshall “Major” Taylor through a partnership with the National Brotherhood of Cyclists (NBC). Limited-edition goods and a scholarship continue the cognac brand’s promotion of diversity in sports and a push for greatness.
In 1899, Major became the first African-American to win a world championship. The achievement launched him into the global spotlight during a time when cycling was all the rage, and he went on to inspire many of today’s top athletes.
On December 1, Major’s birthday, the NBC will host coordinated rides in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York with the mission of promoting diversity in sports. To support their cause, Hennessy will offer limited edition merchandise that commemorates Major’s memory, including a limited-edition bicycle and athletic apparel. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to NBC.
The commuter bicycle, dubbed “Major” and priced at $2,800, was designed by Brooklyn-based Affinity Cycles and is meant to look like Major’s own bike from the 1800s. Behind-the-scenes videos of the bike have been posted as Instagram Stories to help spread awareness.
A capsule collection of apparel was designed by Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. Priced between $150-500, the collection includes a cycling cap, graphic tee with custom artwork, parachute jogger pants, a track-style sweatshirt and a nylon bomber jacket.
Hennessy and NBC will also award one person a $25,000 scholarship to continue their higher education, as this was a cause near and dear to Major’s heart. Applicants of legal drinking age must write a 500+ word essay detailing a time in which they “pushed the limits of their own potential to achieve greatness.” The winning recipient will be announced on December 1.
The partnership continues Hennessy’s tribute to Major as part of its ongoing “Wild Rabbit” campaign. Major was featured in a series of video spots released in April that told the athlete’s inspiring story.
Launched in 2012, Hennessy’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign highlights “that elusive motivation that drives us to succeed.” The campaign, using the slogan, “Never stop. Never settle.,” shines a light on those who achieve greatness while overcoming obstacles and covers a wide range of industries from art to sports. Previous campaigns have included celebrities like Martin Scorsese and challenges like an annual art competition with Pratt Institute.