The HBCU Homecoming Experience is Important, Very Real + Necessary for the African American Psyche

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The HBCU Homecoming experience provides a space for both men and women to fully enjoy the complexities of being Black. We are not all loud, but it‘s perfectly normal to scream the lyrics to your favorite song while standing on a couch in the club. We do not all curse, but you’re welcomed with open arms if you utter swear words in a drunken state. And although we do not all twerk, it is perfectly acceptable to spot your best friend twerking her freshman year crush as you silently wish they’d explore the possibilities of a relationship.

The duality experienced during an HBCU Homecoming is unmatched. Not only are Blacks allowed to express themselves flagrantly – repetitive emotional outbursts, the use of colloquial language and the constant consumption of alcohol – African American men and women are encouraged to break away from their corporate world norms and engage in acts reminiscent of their collegiate years. Black students and alum are permitted to be Black – whatever their personal relation to “being Black” is – free of judgment, intrusive questioning and quizzical looks of confusion.

From the star studded Hip Hop concert to the Greek-life step show… the over priced club move to the most anticipated tailgate of the year, Homecoming encompasses a week of festivities created to intensify the college experience.

Seven days of euphoria, crafted to entertain the student body and revisiting Alum.

For Alum, homecoming is a sacred time. Their last moments as pre-adults are re-lived, revisiting years when life-altering responsibilities were nonexistent. Their only worry was to graduate or if they’d convince their parents to send them enough cash for Spring Break.

Homecoming is a chance to escape the mundane nuances of grad school assignments, a 9-5, bills or other challenging adult life scenarios. It’s time carved out for Alum to relax in the midst of their old stomping grounds, reconnect with old friends and laugh about the good times. No overbearing boss refusing to understand the need for diversity in the office, no annoying co-workers confused as to which arm to use when doing the Nae-Nae. No need to explain why you can recite every word to “Knuck If You Buck”, and no one asking you to clarify the lyrics. I’m pretty certain you won’t spot a Trump bumper sicker and you’ll meet no one who lacks understanding behind Kaepernick and his infamous kneel.

You’re invited into a holistic utopia full of likeminded professionals who too feel the need to let loose, turn up, and thrive in a world that so badly wants to silence their existence. You’re surrounded by educated counterparts who believe in your same initiatives, values and morals… but will share a drink with you while devouring chicken from the Que tent. In this moment you’re protected and celebrated by friends who have turned into family, all coming together at a culturally created reunion.

HBCU Homecomings remind each of us that we are a force to be reckoned with, that we exist in hundreds of thousands and we deserve a space in this country. That if not given a platform we will carve out our own, full of pride and black excellence and the determination of a thousand men and women who succeeded before us.

We come together as one, unified and ecstatic, happy and resourceful, supporting one another as we continue to achieve personal and professional goals. We feel a sense of comfort in knowing that the world may not see us (yet) but we’re here, despite the lack of inclusiveness at our jobs and pricy residential neighborhoods.

Welcome to Homecoming, where you’re safe in the presence of your peers, rejuvenated by the chance to engage in self-expression and inspired by a light that shines in each person around you. We find comfort in knowing that together we can fight to recreate the social structure we currently live in. We can combat the atrocities of an inhumane president, a self-serving infrastructure created to kill us, while supporting those that fight for the betterment of our communities. Where else can we laugh and cry in disgust at the country we live in, the news we’re forced to digest, and the repetitive cry that #AllLivesMatter?

Homecoming is real and necessary for our mental stability and emotional rehabilitation. Where else can you party incessantly while debating political inequities and the ignorance of Fox News? To exist among others who look just like you, work as hard as you do, while promoting self worth, individuality, and full on Blackness is a remarkable experience that should will be celebrated for years to come.

Annsleigh Denise is a graduate of Spelman College, earning a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Minor in Multi-Media and Professional Writing. She is a multifaceted creative, focused on the inner-workings of print, publication, and Broadcast Journalism. Possessing notable editorial skills, Annsleigh aspires to utilize her professional experience to impact the world of media.

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