Stephanie Tate | Correspondent
Homecoming is time of joy, laughs, and an excessive amount of Wolfpack pride. Amidst the issues of cultural and racial insensitivity on our campus I felt as though it was time that we analyze both our past and our future as African American students here at NC State.
Homecoming provided the perfect opportunity to do so as many black alumni had returned just in time for many of the Black Alumni Society events. Homecoming weekend was filled with a number of events catered to create a family atmosphere among black alumni, however one of the events with the most familial atmosphere was the tailgate.
On Saturday Oct. 31, three hours prior to kick off of the homecoming football game the Black Alumni Society, along with their umbrella organization the NC State Alumni Association, hosted their annual tailgate. The tailgate included food catered by Backyard Bistro, a live band called Sleeping Booty, and a ton of laughter. A bystander might have mistaken the tailgate for a family reunion, I know I sure did.
While interacting with some of the alumni, I was afforded the opportunity to observe how much of a pack members of the Black Alumni Society actually are. With that being said, the society is looking to increase the size of their pack.
President, Carmita Bass, a 2005 accounting graduate, said “we would love to see more young alumni and pass the torch.” Bass noted that young alumni add creative and innovative ideas, while the society provides young alumni with wonderful networking opportunities. During her time at NC State, Bass was no stranger to student involvement. She served as student body treasurer, a chancellor’s aide, a peer mentor, and a chancellor’s liaison to name a few. Watching Bass float around the tailgate and interact with guests was almost a magical experience.
She is passionate about the society, its members, and the opportunities that the society provides. In the midst of line jackets from a variety of years, and vintage NC State paraphernalia, were the young alumni.
“The connections I’ve made helped me transition from undergrad to graduate school and the Facebook group keeps me updated on the community events,” said Lauren Evans, who received both her undergraduate degree in fashion and textile management and most recently a Master’s degree in global luxury management from NC State said NC State prepared her for both the graduate program and now the professional world.
Kendal Hudson, a 2013 mechanical engineering graduate, wants to see more young alumni getting involved in the Black Alumni Society.
“Being an engineering graduate from NC State puts you a step ahead, it sets you apart.”
Material Science and Engineering graduate, Leodis Jennings of the 1983 class, said of the many lessons he learned while being at NC State is perseverance and problem solving skills. Jennings pronounced “It wasn’t easy” when recalling his experience as a student here. He encourages students to cherish their time here, remember that NC State will prepare you to be successful, and learn how to get along with others.
“Build relationships, because you cannot do it by yourself,” Jennings said.
Felecia Keenan, a 2011 English graduate, offered similar words of wisdom. Keenan wants students to remember that you will “earn” your degree at NC State and to be aware of the support system around them.
“It easy to get distracted, your chances of failure are greater than those of success, but remain focused. There is a lot of support at State, including mentorships through the Black Alumni Society.”
Among the mouthwatering banana pudding, the old school jams, and the bomb sweet tea sat those who have already been in our shoes looking to extend to us words of wisdom and helping hands. The Black Alumni Society is filled with former students with experiences similar to our own, willing to be resources if only we’d allow them to be.
Being a part of the Wolfpack is a lifetime commitment and it does not end once we turn our tassels in PNC, in fact that step is just the beginning.
Jillian Smith Staff Writer
Sophomore and Communication media major Jordan Williams, better known by his stage name Sonny Miles, sang his way to victory last month. He along with the student female a cappella group, Ladies in Red won the Union Activities Board “Open for Tori Kelly Contest”. The opening performances, however, scheduled for the annual Pack Howl Homecoming concert on Oct. 29, was not able to take place.
“The management at the last minute just said no,” said Matthew Wright, a sophomore in Graphic design who was supposed to MC the concert. “The reaction was what you would expect. People were upset, confused and disappointed. I was bummed and I wasn’t even performing,” Wright said.
Williams joined other contestants who posted audition videos to Youtube for them to be voted on. The five acts with the most votes on the UAB website were chosen to perform at the beginning of Campout on Oct. 23. At Campout, a student poll and celebrity judge panel selected Williams and the a cappella group to perform.
Concert or not, Williams has captured the hearts, minds and smiles of NC State’s student body with his self-written song “Liberation.”
The name Sonny Miles was born from the combination of Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt, two artists Williams’ grandfather often listened to. “He never made it to see me grow into who I am now, so it’s basically a tribute to him,” said Williams.
His interest in music began when he was young, listening to his father’s vinyls, drawing inspiration from popular music artists like Prince.
A native of Winston-Salem, NC, he attended Mount Tabor High School where he was in band and began to play the clarinet. Williams also plays guitar, bass and drums.
Williams began playing drums at church when he was nine-years-old, about a year ago he set out to teach himself how to play guitar and bass. In many of his YouTube videos, you can catch him playing and singing covers to acoustic guitar.
Williams is also a member of the student men’s a cappella group Grains of Time. He has been singing with them for a year.
“I found my passion at 17. I think that’s when I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life,” Williams said.
Sonny Miles has been spotted all around Raleigh wherever there is an open mic night or anything he can find. He has also performed at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem. He averages about four to five performances every week on top of school work.
The hardest part of these performances is getting people to remember you according to Williams. “It’s just making sure that people stay with you. It’s making people retain you. That’s the difficult part,” he said.
Sonny Miles has a unique sound, one that resulted from a combination of different artists from different genres that wouldn’t typically put together. He describes it as a mix of John Legend, John Mayer and Bob Dylan. “His style is super chill and catchy. It’s nice, it’s real easy to listen to. It kind of just gets you rocking and snapping,” Wright said.
While Williams wasn’t able to open for Tori Kelly, he did get to meet her. “Some things don’t work out in your favor, other things do,” read the caption of a photo he posted to Facebook of him and Kelly the night of the concert.
Williams just released his first EP as Sonny Miles titled “The Beta Chapter,” on Nov. 1. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes or SoundCloud or go through links on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Q&A with Delta Sigma Theta Chapter President
Jessica Stubbs Staff Writer
Homecoming week was filled with football, tailgating, parades, parties, and coincidentally, costumes since the last day of homecoming week landing on Halloween. October 25th through October 31st also marked the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc.’s Delta Week 2015: Ruby in the Rough.
Throughout the week the ladies held events like sisterhood game night, entrepreneurship workshops, and a feminine product collection to be donated to Interact Domestic Violence Center. At the end of the week, the ladies held their 40th Anniversary Gala, The Year of the Ruby. Chapter president Jasmia Shropshire sat down with the Nubian for a Q&A to highlight and celebrate their milestone anniversary.
N: For those who don’t know, can you explain the significance behind this year’s gala?
S: October 25, 1975 marked 40 years since the Mu Omicron Chapter was chartered on the campus of North Carolina State University. We were the first African American Sorority to be chartered on this campus, by 10 phenomenal women. In order to commemorate their legacy, we held Delta Week 2015: Ruby in the Rough, followed by our weekend long reunion celebration, Year of the Ruby.
N:Why the name “Ruby in the Rough”?
S:A 40th anniversary, is known to be a Ruby Year. Ruby is a stone of love, passion, power, and nobility. Valued more than diamonds, the energy of a ruby transfers an uplifting nature and courageous spirit. This reunion was a re-dedication to our commitment to Mu Omicron, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, at large as we are rubies in our own right. The same zeal 40 years ago, is what motivates us today. We wanted to challenge MO to recognize the rubies within all of us, and encourage everyone to follow our passions in order to positively impact the people around us, our communities, and the world at large. It was a call to embody the characteristics of the Ruby in our daily acts, thoughts, and hearts just as our Charter Members did!
The weekend included: a game night, a formal welcome where Sorors were able to receive 40th anniversary bags, t-shirts, tumblers, and other giveaways.
N: Any special guests or big names stopping by?
S: We had a couple MO Delta celebrities that we all were overjoyed to meet. It was so surreal, and emotional, all at the same time! We had 5 Charter Members attend, and one of them gave a speech. But we were very grateful that they could even be a part of the weekend. They were proud of the place we are at now, and encouraged us to continue to work hard.
N: What are some upcoming events that DST has planned for the month of November?
S: Most immediately, we will have our postponed program “We Are Not in Kansas Anymore” coming soon so please look out for that flyer. Our Mr. Crimson and Cream Scholarship Pageant Informational is November 11th at 7:13, we would love if you could tell any interested males in need of a scholarship to stop by!
We will also be having an upcoming community service event. Finally, we will be having our annual MO Gift Wrapping Party the last week of December, where we wrap donated toys for the children at the Garner Road Community Center. You can keep up with all of our program and events via Instagram at @muomicrondst and twitter at MuOmicronDST.
QUIANNE’ HOLMES STAFF WRITER
Among the homecoming traditions established by faculty and students for years to come, one in particular brings much excitement to the African American community.
On Friday night, students, alumni, faculty, and guests arrived at Talley Student Union’s Piedmont Mountains Ballroom to attend the 2015 NPHC Stroll Off. Open to the public, the NPHC Stroll off is a greek fraternity and sorority step show that allows participants to exhibit their talents while representing their organizations before judges.
The Mu Xi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta of North Carolina State University and the Gamma Tau Chapter of Iota Phi Theta of Shaw University won the stroll off.
“A win is just a win, until you add up the hours you put in to get that win, until you total the conflicts and resolutions that occurred throughout the process of preparing for the show,” Cynthia Sharpe, a member of Zeta Phi Beta said.“The hard work paid off. Tonight we got more than just a win.”
Hosts Ivana Mbdullah, a member of the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Josh Moore, a member of the Kappa Lambda Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. entertained the audience with jokes and crowd interaction.
Participants battled for three rounds, each with a different meaning. The first round required them to create a tribute performance using a mix of one artist’s songs. The Kappa Lambda and Psi Delta chapters of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. strolling to a mix of DMX songs such as “How It Goin’ Down and the Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” the Ques maintained synchronized steps and hops while ending in memorable side splits.
The ladies of the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. who dedicated their performance to Missy Elliott, created a fun vibe with their interactive routine. The Gamma Tau Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. performed a routine in tribute to Tupac.
To finish round one, the ladies of the Mu Xi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. honored Beyonce and Destiny’s child synonymously. With cartwheels and crowd participation, the Zetas even recreated the “Cater 2 U,” performance by Destiny’s Child.
Round two asked participants to perform to a mix of songs that would be considered songs of uplift and empowerment. Omega Psi Phi started the round off by creating a Black Empowerment statement strolling to songs such as “Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha grabbed the crowd’s attention dressed as Black Panthers as well as displaying the black power symbol of a raised fist. Incorporating songs such as “Glory,” by John Legend and Common and “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” by James Brown made their empowerment statement loud and clear. Iota Phi Theta created a poetic justice atmosphere with their use of songs such as the interlude from “Testify,” by Common and “U.N.I.T.Y.,” by Queen Latifah.
Zeta Phi Beta used songs of independence to make their empowerment statement. Songs such as “Independent,” by Neyo and “RESPECT,” by Aretha Franklin. This wave of empowerment addressed many social justice issues through song choice and body movements.
The final round allowed participants to do a freestyle performance that could showcase any talents. Omega Psi Phi kicked off the last round strolling to songs by Drake, Future, and J Cole. Alpha Kappa Alpha maintained the hype choosing crowd favorites like, “Hotline Bling.” Iota Phi Beta incorporated acting, costume changes, and a medley of music ranging from rap to rock. Ultimately, the Zetas finished the round strolling to songs such as, “That’s my best friend.”
“The two month planning process was hectic but I had an amazing supporting staff to help out,” said Moore. “Instead of letting our smaller council size affect us, it made us more effective or lean. Dealing with chapters’ prior obligations was tough but I think that the committee put on a great show even with a limited council in terms of chapter sizes.” Moore studies sustainable materials and technology and Mbdullah, also a senior studies textile engineering.
Members of the judging panel included those affiliated with the National Pan-Hellenic Council along with a representative from Greek Life.
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