About Us






The Foundation 

The Drum Major Empowerment Foundation, Inc. (DME) is a 501c3 non-profit organization focused on supporting students further their education at post-secondary institutions.

Inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 “Drum Major Instinct” message, we use “Drum Major” as a metaphor for positive leadership. DME provides scholarship awards, college readiness resources, marching band training, and hazing prevention education. The overall aim of DME is to empower, enlighten, and positively influence the academic, social, and personal trajectories of students in grades 9 through 12.

The Background

On November 19, 2011, Florida A&M University marching band Drum Major, Robert Champion, died after participating in a violent hazing ritual. The following year, FAMU launched a $50,000 research initiative that would give the Department of Psychology the opportunity to study the nature and extent of hazing attitudes and behaviors among campus organizations. This research led to a focus on interventions that can be used to increase awareness and strengthen safe participation in student activities. As time progressed, what began as a vehicle to spread hazing prevention education and leadership strategies soon developed into marching band training camps, group-facilitated workshops, and interactive educational presentations. This evolved into what is now known as Drum Major Empowerment.

DME was founded by Devon Marrett, who served as a Drum Major with the FAMU marching band program. He later worked as a research assistant with FAMU’s Anti Hazing Research Initiative and served as an Adjunct Faculty member within the Department of Psychology at FAMU.