4 Reasons Why Going to an HBCU Homecoming is the BEST Thing EVAH

  1. Everybody is Black

Without a doubt this is the number one reason going to an HBCU Homecoming is the best thing evah.  An HBCU is as close as any Black person can get to an actual Wakanda.  For a weekend, we are in a land where we don’t have to worry about somebody questioning our presence, feeling as if we don’t belong, wondering if we will be treated fairly, or feeling as if our every action is being judged.  We are free.  We are run, butt-naked, through grass fields, “the hills-are-alive” type free.  Woooo-chile – and it feels so gooood!

I understand why White folks don’t have the high blood pressure rates we do.  They don’t have to deal with the daily stress that we do.  For us, there is some part of a Black American’s brain that must always be on – oftentimes unconsciously – to live and to try to thrive in a place where race differentiates everything.  So, when you are on an HBCU’s campus, and that part of the brain shuts down, you are free to be happy, you are free to be you – fully and completely.

*Note: I don’t any patience for any White folks getting offended by this sentiment, as rarely do many of you put yourselves in situations where you are in the vast minority.  So don’t come for me on this one topic, this one setting, where we can be the unequivocal majority.  Diversity is a beautiful thing; but it’s also an easier thing if you are the majority and not the minority.  For us, it’s a lot of work and it’s nice to have a mental freakin’ break. 

  • Love

Eeeeerbody loves, and loves on, eeeeerbody at an HBCU Homecoming.  I imagine it’s like Woodstock, except we aren’t high on drugs (well most of us aren’t) and we are grooving to R&B and Hip Hop instead of Rock.  We greet each other with the enthusiasm of people who’ve been counting down the days until we were reunited – even when we don’t personally know each other. 

An unspoken HBCU homecoming rule developed organically a long time ago: if someone whom you’ve never seen before grabs you and hugs you tightly, you hug back just as tightly because: 1) You may know them but just don’t recognize them because age has made your brain not as sharp or their waistline not as skinny; 2) They are family – period.  We know each other because we’ve walked the same halls, valleys, and through the same situations.

  • It’s Us – Culturally and Unapologetically Blackity, Black, Black

While many of us have been exposed to a lot of things: cultures, food, countries, music, etc. there is just something so fulfilling when you are at a place where everything is Blackity, Black, Black.  No sushi; just fried fish.  No kale or quinoa,; just collard greens and dirty rice.  The only salt we use is seasoning salt; breakfast will have some pork and some grits because they are major food groups.  Walking through the campus, you will hear gospel, old school R&B, hip hop and trap blaring from cars, RVs, at parties, and on stage.  Folks rock braids, twists, afros, fades, weaves, fingerwaves, etc. and all are appreciated.  There is also a rainbow of colorful, African fabric, sorority and fraternity paraphernalia, and clothes with slogans that celebrate Blackness.

No one has to dilute their blackness, or their proudness; and they don’t.

  • You are validated.

When you go back home, to the HBCU from which you graduated, you get what you got when you were there: validation.  Every person you see makes you feel as if you are worthy.  You are greeted with a smile and a hug, not suspicion.  You can share your experiences and they are affirmed because your Sistas and Brothas are oftentimes experiencing the same.  You are seen and supported, told how wonderful you are.  Alumni before you tell you how proud they are of you and those that graduated after you look to you for guidance.  You are accepted and valued. Folks get you.

When you land on grounds where thousands of other Black people worked earnestly to become educated and successful, despite being enslaved, the terror of Jim Crow, and unfair treatment, before you; and then you connect with those who are doing it at the same time as you – you are able release a long, deep sigh.  Your shoulders move away from your ears, your jaws become unclenched, and you relax.  You experience the euphoria of true belonging.

For too few precious days, you feel free.

14 Responses

  1. I didn’t go for 20 years after I left my HBCU. Once I went back I wanted to go every year for all the reasons stated above. It is like Wakanda, I do feel validated, I am not judged, etc. After all the reunions are over, the old people step, the game is played and the music stops at the party I head home feeling proud and, quite frankly, bourgeoisie because the homecoming experience lifts me up and allows me to succeed for at least one calendar year. Until the next one!

  2. As always, you hit the nail on the head! I am still on an emotional high right now. I really needed to recharge my mental and spiritual batteries and Tuskegee University Homecoming 2019 was the charging station!

  3. An HBCU homecoming is “the happiest place on earth”! As soon as one is over, the countdown for the next begins! Tuskegee University has some of the most successful, most educated, most respected, most accomplished people (not black, white or otherwise) you will ever find. But when they step back on the campus and walk on the ave, they are simply proud TU grads on equal footing with every other person there, whether they be a new freshman, a TI alum, the lady who worked in the cafe. WE ARE FAMILY! Yeah, that’s exactly what it is……coming home!

  4. Awww Yeah Baby! Tell the truth and shame the devil! There is no substitution for returning as often as possible to the places that launched us into this world with wings, heads held high and the confidence and clarity necessary to thrive in a hostile world.

    Fisk Forever!

  5. Hell yeah!!! Just what I needed to read to ensure I won’t miss HC again for the next few years!!! thanks my Skegee sista!! Love ya bunches

  6. A HBCU Homecoming continues to serve as a spiritual, physical( ok you might need a week to recover lol) and mental reset for our people. A HBCU Homecoming is the last stronghold for the Black Experience. Great piece!

  7. TU!!! And you definitely know! I wish I had seen you on the AVE! But the first people that I did see were classmates of my Dad, ‘66, School of Veterinary Medicine. It was Wakandian Bliss.

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About Randi B.

Randi is a diversity and inclusion strategist, speaker, trainer and writer, focusing on making connections and cultivating empathy in this diverse world one trip, speech, article, book and conversation at a time.

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