Yo, Mizzou! So What You Gon Do? Go To An HBCU!


How Do You Do?
Last night before I laid my head to rest, I scrolled my timeline and came across a video that some Black Mizzou students had posted. (I won’t post it here because Black trauma has no place on my platform).  Earlier in the day, I watched a video from September on the campus of MSU that showed the incidents that led up to the departure of MSU’s president. 
The video was especially disturbing for me.  At one point during the protest, many of the Black students began to break down in tears.  Some were screaming for their humanity. Some were pleading for their humanity.  The entire scene ended in a group of Black students holding each other and crying.
I cried.  Again.  As if the tears for Sandra Bland, and Rekia Boyd, and Tamir Rice, and Jonathan Ferrell, and The Charleston 9, and Water Scott, and Freddie Grey, and Mike Brown weren’t enough; in case I had not wept enough  for the South Carolina Black teenage girl who was thrown to the ground and the Black boys who watched powerlessly as prisoners of their own fear; as if the news of Freddie Grey’s mother attempting suicide wasn’t enough reason; even as I type this, I have had to pause twice to gather, and swallow, over 2 dozens instances of Black terror in just the last year. Here I was again grieving for my brothers and sisters who found themselves the unfortunate victims of ignorance and buffoonery. 
“When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them” – Maya Angelou
For the most part, I pretty much stayed clear of speaking on the MSU incident because I know who I am dealing with. I have been shown time and time again who I am dealing with and, rather than continue to plead my right to exist, I choose to exist in defiance anyway. #BOOP. So With that, I am neither shocked nor surprised by the blatant disregard and indifference at the hands of MSU.  I have reached a point in my life where the pleading of Black subsistence to the senses of an affliction that has consistently and persistently shown that I am unworthy of dignity and respect is played tf out. 
 Over it. How do you continue to engage with folks who become so fear-filled and anxious that the mere sight of a Black person causes their body to respond as if it was in a car accident? That is a private matter that requires private counsel. It is going to require you to dig deep within yourself, and find out what it is about you, that has you so terrified of Black sin.  What do they call those? Ah, yes: A personal problem.  I learned a long time ago that life is so much easier when you put yourself in spaces with people who value who you are. Until these people seek the help they so deservedly need, and work through these personal problems that have absolutely nothing to do with with anyone but themselves, you  Black MSU students, should take this time to seriously consider transferring to an HBCU.

Making The Case For FAMU.

There are 100+ HBCUs to choose from.  I can only speak for my beloved alma mater: Florida A&M University. We have excellent programs in journalism, business, and pharmacy.  We have one of only two psychology programs in the nation that place an emphasis on the Black experience and multicultural psychology.  We have nationally ranking programs in nursing, and top of the line alumni doing their thing in entertainment, architecture, engineering, medicine, politics, sports, and corporate affairs. We promise you an experience like no other.  The Black college football experience is unlike anything you’ve encountered.  The crowd. The cheerleaders. The food. The band. The fashion The FAMUly.  We in here! 
Now, if we are going to be FAMUly, I must keep it 100. Yes, {some| of the {horror} stories are true.  There will be long lines in financial aid and somebody will lose paperwork (make a copy of everything!)  You may very well get a boot for parking in the employee parking lot, and you will have to change your iRattler password every other week.  At times, it will be difficult to tell if your adviser may or may not actually want you to graduate. The system will go down and you may not even get your “net check” till after Homecoming.  The facilities may be a little older than you are used to, and you may even find yourself having to walk more than you’d like because there is no 24 hour shuttle. No, you can’t buy alcohol on campus, and if you’re “fortunate” enough to land a coveted spot in Paddyfote (P-soldier for LIFE!), you may or may not have step in the hall way to change your mind because the room is #literally too small for you and your roommate to both be in there thinking at the same time.  

But, when you are sitting in Lee Hall and the DJ cuts the music, but 1,000 Rattler Strong are still crooning the words to Luther’s “Never Too Much” acapella –style, and you find the professor who literally will adopt you as her own child; when you hear “Knuck if You Buck” for the first time in the Grand Ballroom and fear that the floor will cave in from the sheer amount of TURNTUPness happening all around you, when you swag surf with your homies  and you are sitting on Set Friday and perusing the “3 CDs for $10” booklet; when you hear the Rattler Charge for the first  time, and have to ask a fellow Rattler, “what is Rufusing?” When Soul Train gives the girl in front of you two Capri-Suns and a star crunch for free but charges you $2 PER item, and  the first time you see Epicurean walk on the side of their feet, and the BADST duck walk for the first time – Magical Black women with hair LAID like a lily in the valley; when you attend your first homecoming and anxiously await the outfits your alumni have managed to find in both orange AND green; when you have just walked across the stage in the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center,  and you look out over the crowd and hundreds of Black elders struggle to lift themselves from their wheelchairs to stand  up so that they can greet a Black college graduate the proper way; when  you’re standing outside and you are met with the adulation of the African drums that play just for you as you parade out of the building with your degree in one hand and your Blackness in the other, it will be in those moments that you know  that you are indeed at home.

Bring It on Home.
Black students of Mizzou, Yale, Ithaca, and all over:  I appreciate your fight in the struggle, as you have already won.  I pray for your protection, strength, guidance, and discernment every day.  You have every right to attend whatever school you so choose to because you are free and that decision is yours and yours alone.  
However, coming to FAMU or any other HBCU for that matter does not mean that you are retreating or surrendering.  You have not given up and you are not a failure; you are heroes.  First, let it stand for what you did: Your act of civil disobedience ousted a college head president and sent shock waves through the proverbial grips of unrest that has plagued college campuses.  With direct action, unshakable faith, and a “I Ain’t Neva Scared” posture, you showed The world what true Black Power is: Economic leverage.  When MSU realized that their lack of accountability would cost  the school over 1 Million dollars virtually overnight, MSU officials danced like David danced and moved mountains.  You are now, and will forever be remembered for being  the group of students who sparked the Pilgrimage back to the Historically Black College and University.

Dry your eyes Black students of the University of Missouri and in the words of Earth, Wind, and Fire, “Keep your Head to the Sky.”   Being that the orange and green venom runs deep within my veins, I would implore you to consider FAMU.  Or Jackson State. Or BCU. Or Southern. Or Morehouse. Or Shaw. Or Lincoln. Or TSU. Or Alabama State. Or Fisk. Go and be some place where you are surrounded by, expected to be, and celebrated for being Bad & Black & Black & Bad. 
As we continue to be fully engaged in the day to day plights of Black people both here and abroad, we have a responsibility to lend a voice and skills to the generation most submerged in the struggle for liberation.  In doing so however, we must take the necessary steps to preserve our mental health and emotional wellness.  Listen, it’s hard out here in these streets. The struggles of navigating this world can be difficult but, rather than allow it to consume our every being, we should choose to arm ourselves with our rich culture, affirmed history, and self-care .The HBCU should not be viewed as a “refuge” or a “place to escape”  but as a place where we,  Beautiful Black Beings, have a fundamental and God-given right to  exist beyond terror; we are human and we are entitled to exist beyond the scope of death, brutality, trauma, fear, and shame.
Let the actions of the Black students of Mizzou be the rallying battle cry for Black students all over the nation. Black athletes have now taken notice to the power wielded by Collective Unity. 
I know it is a big decision.  Think about it.  Sleep on it.  Pray about it.  Just know, that when you are ready, you can come home.
If For No Other Reason, do it for Fried Chicken Wednesday.  

So Mizzou, what you gon do? Come to FAMU! 

2 Comments

  1. Brother, I have always enjoyed your writing, but this piece right here takes the cake. There are too many jewels to mention and I hope every parent of a college-bound student seriously considers sending his or child to an HBCU. As for current black students at the University of Missouri, you have fought the good fight but it's time to come home.

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