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’s 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 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 places a scientist, a painter, a lawyer, a ballet dancer, a reporter all within a 10feet radius of each other. This 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 October, the Nation’s Capital becomes a host of various influential black minds that create another Black experience for HUHC. 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. Stories shared range from how the A-Building felt like 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 at 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 vast visual sea of Blackness across the Yard. The smell of urban herbal essence fills the air as the cloud of evidence evaporates into the sky like all cares of a Sallie Mae payment. Non-alumni of Howard University always feel welcome at the Mecca, especially in today’s climate. The attack on Blackness is rapid, and disrespect wrapped in a blanket of white privilege. Black T-Shirts with black messages about Black life are worn by Black men and Black women with prideful facial expressions.
The Saturday tailgate raises the Black bar to the highest Black levels that surpass 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 shares a laugh while eating out of their paper plates. 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 only to exercise positive Black vibes. A sad feeling is in the air as the realization comes to mind that no matter how long the night dragged out with stories of Carver Hall that the end is near, and the blackest of emotional goodbyes shared with hugs, smiles, and tears.
Ask 50 beautiful Black 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 Black cities or Black folk who grew as the only Black come to their Mecca. Many alumni will speak of their admiration for the classic black TV show A Different World as the primary Black reason for their black decision. Several 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. Many Bison themselves were not only the first in their family to attend an HBCU but a college itself. Understand that Howard Homecoming isn’t 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 pursuing our dreams in the blackest way possible. 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. We’re not just A Different World but the world that creates the difference.
j hall is a Detroit bred Howard Bison multimedia culture critic. An abstract thinker who believes “You ain’t wrong when you’re right” and that his mother’s cupcakes are legendary. Check out his slight worldwide view here.