Follow me to a place where time stands still and blackness reigns supreme. A place so black that it sticks out on your global map. Black like Jesus true roots. Black like deep Farrakhan conscious black. Black like “Hell naw I ain’t vote for him!!!” Black like Wesley Snipes in the 90s-black having sex in every movie black. Black like corporate America Wall Street black tie black. Black in different shades, like Beyoncé brown, DJ Yella, or Alek Wek black. The type of black that shows unity but yet is never reported by mainstream media because nobody is getting shot black. An unorthodox black celebration that reunites a thoroughbred New Yorker with their born and bred Alabama best friend. Diversity black that places a scientist, a painter, a lawyer, a ballet dancer, a reporter all within a 10feet radius of each other. This is a place where the black is welcoming to all yet shameless to none. It is Howard Homecoming(HUHC) and it is the most unapologetic blackest coolest place to be on the planet.
Every year within the month of October the nation’s capital becomes a host of to various influcential black minds that come to create another black experience for HUHC. This year had an extra spark of black bedazzlement because the great Mecca of Howard University is celebrating its 150th year. Although the black grand finale is the weekend, alumni fly in from all over earlier in the week to pregame/catch up with old roommates, Greek brothers & sisters, and lifelong friends. Some meet at Happy Hour or TTOT as an escape to be their free blacker selves without feeling like they carry the burden of the entire black race whenever they speak around the office. For others, it’s familiar like a black family reunion minus the drunk black Uncle. Stories shared range from how the A-Building felt like at times a bad black business to that crazy one time in the Punch-Out that everyone still remembers. The moment has just begun and already it feels like home.
Once the weekend has arrived the concert on campus known as Yardfest is a black Woodstock. All in attendance prepare to go viral when the DJ plays Swag Surf and black folks young and old join in unity to showcase a huge visual sea of blackness across the Yard. The smell of urban herbal essence fills the air as the cloud of evidence evaporate into the sky like all cares of a Sallie Mae payment. Non-alumni of Howard University as always feel welcome at the Mecca especially in today’s climate where the attack on blackness is rapid and disrespect is wrapped in a blanket of white privilege. Black T-Shirts with black messages about black life are worn by both black men and black women with prideful facial expressions. The concert has become more than just a party on the grass but a sign of black expressionism that symbolizes black joy.
The Saturday tailgate raises the black bar to the highest of black levels that surpasses all black gatherings that weekend. An empty parking lot on Georgia ave transforms into a massive black meet up with very little room space in between yet all move in among each other with no hostility. The variety smell of foods that have the blackest of seasoning fill the air as a financial consultant and a dance instructor share a laugh while eating out of their paper plates. At first sight, the view can be sensory overload as Alumni search to find a familiar face amongst the crowd of current students until they’re called by their college nickname and waved down from friends in the far-left corner of the entrance gate. A variety of Bison emotional black hugs and daps are exchanged with passionate verbal outburst chants they say “Where YOU been?!!”. Those who are members of black greek life step in unity through the audience creating a beat to their own drum while others break out in an Electric slide (Hustle if you’re from Detroit). Baby Bison look adorable and innocent in their HU shirts standing in between their parents who met in front of Douglas years ago. A black magic spell is cast in the air banishing all forms of negative energy from this land while commanding the crowd to exercise positive black vibes only. The weather is a perfect 70 degrees and the sun is shining revealing endless smiles from a variety of black faces.
As the weekend comes to an end Sunday is for every Bison to participate in their own black agenda. Many HU Alumni partake in early black brunch day parties to set aside their PhD mannerisms to sing-a-long the most ignorant of black rap songs while waving their glass filled mimosas in the air. Other Bison may choose to gather at a house or small bar with their close day1 friends to speak and laugh in their native black tongues. A somber feeling is in the air as the realization comes to mind that no matter how long the night is dragged out with stories of Carver Hall that the end is near and the blackest of emotional goodbyes are shared with hugs, smiles, and tears.
Ask 50 black beautiful Bison how they came to Howard University and you will hear over 70 different black stories. Each comes as an individual but graduates with a family. Black folks from far and wide whether from a majority black city or town growing up always being the one black in the all-white classroom. Many alumni will speak of their admiration of the classic black TV show “A Different World” as being the main black reason to their black decision. A number of Bison will also mention state their goal was to continue a legacy passed on from their parents or grandparents who attended HU years before them. There are also many Bison who themselves were not only first in their family to attend an HBCU but a college itself. And yes, we all have often heard the criticism like: “Why you go to a black college when the world isn’t black?” or “You going to your college Homecoming? For what?” and my personal favorite “How do you celebrate being black?” The answer is deeper than rap but not too complex to explain when there’s always different reports of police brutality, covert or overt racism while living in a country that rather profits of my blackness versus respecting it. Understand that Howard Homecoming isn’t just a weekend excuse to party, get drunk and reminisce about past glory days. HUHC is an annual celebration of blackness among a diverse group of black individuals who reenergize each other as we hold ourselves accountable to continue the pursue of our dreams in the blackest way possible. This bold black annual gathering is massive and allure is strong enough to attract other black types who aren’t Bison and a few sprinkles of Becky’s in between. All are invited and everyone is welcome because in today’s’ America like years before Howard University Homecoming has always been the Mecca for blackness that serves as a symbol for future generations and a wake up call to the world.