Dear Howard Homecoming Weekend: I Hate You » VSB

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Dear Howard Homecoming Weekend: I Hate You

Video screenshot via @HowardU Twitter

It’s Howard University Homecoming this weekend, right?

I think so.

You’re not sure?

No. I didn’t go to Howard and I don’t live in D.C., so I don’t have the Howard Homecoming dates tattooed on my chest.

But you do think it’s happening this weekend. Why?

Well, I do have multiple friends and followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And many of these friends and followers apparently went to Howard. And their activity online and offline has led me to believe that Howard is having a Homecoming this weekend.

They’ve told you?

Let me just say this: Every conversation I’ve had with a Howard grad in the past two weeks — including my dear cousin — has gone the exact same way.

Me: “So how’s the new baby? Is she walking yet?

Them: “When I go to the HU homecoming next weekend, should I rock the HU hoodie at the football game, or just go with an HU bucket cap and a HU t-shirt? I’m thinking the bucket cup and the t-shirt, cause I’ll want to rock the hoodie at the post-game tailgate day party.

…or…

Me: “It’s supposed to get warm tomorrow. The weather guy said it might crack 80.”

Them: “Man, did I tell you about the time at the HU homecoming in 1999 when Diddy showed up and brought 112 and Total and even pulled Craig Mack off of his shift at Gamestop and brought him too? Yo! That was almost as live as 2003, when Beyonce came through on a spaceship and…

So, I take it these Howard grads are very excited about attending homecoming?

Well, that’s the thing. Howard is one of the biggest and most prestigious HBCUs, so if you happen to know a ton of Black people with degrees — which I do — there’s a good chance they went to Howard. Basically, I’m always half a degree of separation from a Howard grad, so I’m always hearing about their damn Homecoming when it’s Homecoming time.

But, this feeling isn’t unique to Howard. The Morehouse grads act the same way. As do the Spelman grads. And the Hampton grads. And the Florida A&M grads. And the North Carolina A&T grads. And the Jackson State grads. And the Morgan State grads. And, well, you get my point.

They all become the same insufferable and annoying assholes whenever it’s time for their Homecoming.

That’s kinda sounds like you’re hating.

Well, I’m glad it kinda sounds like that because that’s definitely what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t want you to think otherwise. I am, unquestionably and undoubtedly, being a hater. As I type this, I’m totally getting Haterade pumped intravenously in my veins right now, and it burns. There is no shame whatsoever to my hating game. If Big Sean is the charter school gym class of rap music, I’m the charter school gym class of HBCU Homecoming hating.

That Big Sean line didn’t make any sense.

I know. But I’m sure you get my point.

I did. I guess the next question is why? Why are you hating on these homecomings? What did these homecomings ever do to you?

Well, it’s not really about them. You see, I didn’t go to an HBCU. I went to a medium-sized PWI (predominately White institution) in upstate New York. And while I had a great time in college, I’ve never really felt much of a connection to that place. It’s just the place I happened to graduate from. I’ve never gone back for homecoming. Or any reunions. And I don’t plan to. When I get stuff in the mail from them asking for money, I use that paper to line my dog’s cage. Because it’s really high quality paper.

So, when I see my friends and family who graduated from HBCUs with these deep connections to and loves for their colleges and universities — and not just the schools themselves, but the histories, the alums, the traditions, the customs — I feel a bit of envy. I wish I had that type of relationship with the place embroidered on my bachelor’s degree.

It’s like being in decent relationship with significant other; a relationship you feel pretty good about. You like spending time with each other, you don’t argue much, and you even have the same feelings about obscure Black cinema. (You both really, really liked Dancing in September.) But then you have a dinner date with a couple that is sickeningly head over heels in love with each other. These two aren’t just soulmates. It’s like they share the same damn molecules. And it makes you wonder if the “decent” relationship you’re in is a waste of time. If you should just reset your wifi passwords and go your separate ways.

That’s how I feel every year when it’s HBCU homecoming time. Like my college experience was a Netflix and Chill relationship.

So how do you handle that?

Well, I’m always going to hate. That will never change. It’s not really about me, though.

I’ve noticed a growing conversation about the current relevance of HBCUs. There are many people (including many Black people) who believe they’re outdated and will eventually be obsolete, because attending one doesn’t really prepare Black people for 21st century America.

There are dozens of reasons why that’s a bullshit belief; most I won’t even attempt to articulate today. But one of those reasons is that there just isn’t another institution that cultivates, nurtures, and celebrates Black people and Black culture the way an HBCU can. And the love so many of the alums have for their alma maters is a reflection of that. It’s beautiful.

So beautiful that even I, a person who didn’t attend one, can recognize it.

By “recognize it” you mean “hate on it” right?

Of course! I’ve even changed my grade of Haterade from unleaded to premium. I’m prepared to make it through this round of hating HBCU Homecoming season fully hydrated.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • stay mad. #HU

  • Courtney Wheeler

    Ha! My uncle use to be the marching band director for Howard. I went to the homecoming for years..but was too young to realize what shenanigans ensue there. Besides I went to Rutgers..I have my own homecoming issues.

    • Damon Young

      rutgers has homecoming issues?

      • Courtney Wheeler

        5 of our players got suspended recently..so who knows if they’ll be a homecoming worth going to. But in fine Rutgers tradition..we just plain suck at football.

        • Homecoming was last week. We won. LOL

          • Sigma_Since 93

            When the cupcake teams are lined up. #RUScrew Pay for wins

            • Courtney Wheeler

              I still have nightmares about registering for classes…

              • TeeChantel

                I got RUScrew’d while living in another country while on a fellowship.

                • Courtney Wheeler

                  Yeah. That sounds about right. By the time I was a senior I completely was comfortable with NOT getting the classes I needed

                  • TeeChantel

                    I would have died if I went there for undergrad.. two years in grad was more than enough for me.

            • The RU Screw is for REAL. Handle that bureaucracy and you can tackle anything!

          • Courtney Wheeler

            OMG are you serious??? LOL LOL LOL
            I’m the worst alum on earth…

          • TeeChantel

            Bout time.

    • TeeChantel

      Ayy, Rutgers! I have yet to go to a Rutgers homecoming. And I graduated from their grad school in 2012.
      I don’t think I’m a stan for homecomings. Unless it is down south somewhere because I love bands.

      • Courtney Wheeler

        The Rutgers band is corny as sin..actually homecoming is a bit corny in general but if you roll with fun peeps the parking lot experience is worth it.

        • The Rutgers band is the devil and the devil is a lie. Every time a HBCUs comes through there are 2 spankings administered. Our football team lays the smack down, and then the band gets smacked down!

          • Courtney Wheeler

            Dude..I remember when we played Howard…or was that Hampton? All i know was that I felt bad for the team..then I felt double bad for the Rutgers band…they weren’t prepared for a HBCU marching band.

            • We’ve played Howard a few times over the years. I watched the games many to creep on the cheerleaders. And they were a part of 2006…

              • A few weeks back for sh*ts and giggles I went to BC vs Howard and well… It was a damn shame what they did to the dog

                • Yeah… When the score is 76-0, and it was only that close because they played the 2nd half with 10 minute quarters and BC threw out the 5th string, well, that was cruel. A shame what they did to the dog indeed.

        • TeeChantel

          I’ve heard some stories about the tailgating shenanigans.
          The rate our football team is going, I’m not sure I will be attending any football games either.

    • Fellow Scarlet Knight here!

  • h.h.h.

    Congratulations to Damon Young, aka Champ…Playa Hater of the Year, 2015.

    http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/291/143/291143194_640.jpg

    • Damon Young

      thanks, man. i’m humbled by the honor.

      • h.h.h.

        #HateHateHateHateHateHate

  • Brianna

    I love my HBCU wouldn’t trade my experience for the World

    • Damon Young

      way to rub salt in the wound

      • Brianna

        You can live vicariously through us

  • DBoySlim

    My school always had homecoming around the same weekend as HU and I could never make it. I’m missing my homecoming this year and I’m sick about it. Oh and about the donations, there’s no dough for Ox.

  • Detroit Skater

    this sums up how i feel about my PWI alma matar except i toss the mail w/o opening it >>>I’ve never really felt much of a connection to that place. It’s just the place I happened to graduate from. I’ve never gone back for homecoming. Or any reunions. And I don’t plan to. When I get stuff in the mail from them asking for money…

    • DBoySlim

      I went to an HBCU and loved my experience. I helped the school recruit students and represented in many capacities. With that being said, I won’t give a penny. If they had a charity then yeah. But with Sally Mae on my head they can kick rocks.

      • Detroit Skater

        ha! totally understand cause sally is a trip!!!

        • DBoySlim

          I just see it like this. Tuition stays going up but you asking my broke ass for money?

        • TeeChantel

          Sally is the worst. I moved to a new apartment a few years ago. On the first day at my new place I had a bill from Sallie Mae waiting in the mailbox.

  • Ari

    You’re right – it’s just different. FAMU homecoming is an official holiday. I take homecoming Fridays off every year to partake in the brunches and day parties that surround the weekend festivities. It’s been ingrained in me so much that I just don’t “get” the point in going to homecoming festivities at PWIs.

    • Unless you take your Black friends, there is no point in going to a white homecoming. It’s like “There’s a parade and then what?”

      • Ari

        Right. Even my sister, who an FSU graduate, skips out on her homecoming festivities but goes to ALL of FAMU’s. And she turns up harder than I do. This is probably due to some form of melanin proximity withdrawal.

        • Jennifer

          “melanin proximity withdrawal” – #truestory. Because science.

          Signed,
          PWI graduate

      • mssporadic

        We don’t even get a parade. The most interesting event is the football game.

        • But when do you do the drinking? It’s an essential part of homecoming.

          • mssporadic

            We tailgate heavily. Drinks for hours way before kickoff. Then party after the game.

    • Squish

      Facts. I don’t even know if Pitt has a homecoming, and I’m from Pittsburgh.

      • Jess Bassey

        We do. .#letsgoPITT

        • Squish

          Yay! Did it happen already? Lmao.

    • cakes_and_pies

      Lissen. I’m already taking October 16& 18 off. FAMU Homecomings will wear you out.

      • Ari

        This.pic.is.accurate AF.

      • PaddyfotePrincess

        Homecoming was ROUGH last year. It took me a few days to recoup. The temp change from 75 to 55 during the weekend didn’t help.

        • cakes_and_pies

          Not at all. Out-of-town people were looking crazy because no one was prepared for the weather shift.

          • PaddyfotePrincess

            I had on a backless sundress at a day party on Friday. On Saturday, I had on jeans, two shirts, and a sweatshirt. I went to the book store and bought a blanket, hat and gloves and I was still cold sitting at the game. The abrupt weather change along with the levels of honey jack consumed sent me home sounding like Weezy Jefferson.

      • QuirlyGirly

        This is so funny because its true.
        Each pic needs a caption.
        Friday-Superb
        Saturday-Flawless
        Sunday-Oh Sh*t
        Monday-Aww Damn

        • Medium Meech

          I think this list should be:

          Friday-Upgrade U
          Saturday-Flawless
          Sunday-Flaws and all
          Monday-Survivor

      • JanuaryBabe

        LOL!!!! You are wrong on so many levels for this foolishment! Such disrespect! But sooo true!

    • mzpw2015

      It really depends on the school. My PWI’S homecoming is coming up soon and I will definitely be there, dressed for the game and all! We “PWI black alums” (as I was called once….kinda felt like a side eye would have been appropriate) aren’t different from any other college alums in our experiences and school pride….

  • Brass Tacks

    I plan to attend strictly to assist all the smart women looking to make poor decisions over the weekend.

    I does it for the culture.

    • Be careful. Some of those women are married, 45 year olds.

      • laddibugg

        Well, I would think that’s a little better? Less chance of a stalker situation.

      • HeyBooHey

        They’re the worst kind but the easiest to make those bad decisions in the name of the turn up

        • They have that walk perfected. After your third drink you can’t resist that power.

      • Thats between her her man and her conscience

        • No lie.

        • Freebird

          he will never know anyway.

      • Jennifer

        Black don’t crack.

  • #PVAMU #PVHC2K15 is next week….
    My crew & several other classmates have a countdown as soon as the football schedule is released in the spring.
    #IHeartMyHBCU

    Damon, I’m sorry you haven’t experienced some of the Blackest ish ever….

    • Keisha

      You went to PV??? Me too!!! :-)

      • Yes!!! *waves* hey girl!!! #PVNation stand up! I came out in ’04. When did you come out?

        • Keisha

          2006…looks like we were there around the same time. Small world!

      • Yasssss! hey girl! *waves* When did you come out? I came out ’04, that seems so long ago.

  • TeeChantel

    This makes me wish I attended an HBCU for college or for grad school. I still have love for Rutgers, though.
    I attend Battle of the Bands in Atlanta every year just so I can get a dose of pure blackness.

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