Drama Derails #GHOE Plans
Amber Williams | Correspondent
Every year, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T) hosts the so-called Greatest Homecoming on Earth (GHOE). With the increasing amount of violence and attendees every year, this event has become one of the most controversial university held functions in North Carolina. The homecoming football game is the supposed to be the climax of the weekend, but most people are only concerned with all of the foolishness outside of the game.
Year after year, we find ourselves talking more about the unflattering photos of drunken people, shootings, and senseless fighting tha
n the actual homecoming events. One would think that since so many influential figures graduated from A&T that the current students’ behaviors would match the university’s prestigious legacy. But from the looks of the past homecomings, GHOE is simply “hip-hop thugs” making their debute.
Today when people think of “turning up” at homecoming the images that instantly come to mind are drinking, smoking, and partying. How do these activities equate to a “Greatest Homecoming on Earth,” considering the negative elements? Many students continue to write off these aspects as a normal part of the GHOE experience.
During this year’s GHOE celebration, a young man was shot while attending the homecoming festivities. A&T is a “gun-free” zone and many people are angered by the fact that this makes the second consecutive shooting on or near A&T’s campus during homecoming. Some students are so fed up with the continued violence at GHOE that they decided to forgo all festivities.
Rashad Lyons, a sophomore at East Carolina University said, “I was planning to go, but with the course of events that were scheduled to happen it would have put me at risk of being shot or arrested than if I were to remain where I was for the weekend.” Lyons and many others, find that the risks simply outweigh the benefits of attending GHOE.
Kimberly Watson, an A&T alum, was asked to define GHOE on her blog, Lovelye Spirit, stating “North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is one of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation. Every year we host our annual Homecoming, which in short is a reunion for the current students and alumni. Our Homecoming is celebrated throughout the community and the state of North Carolina. It’s not just for A&T students and alumni but it has become an experience that has impacted the entire city.”
GHOE is not what A&T represents if you really think about it. Homecomings are supposed to be about both the alumni and the current student body coming together to fellowship, not in dissimilation, but celebration.
A Sign of Black Solidarity
Bilal Butt | Correspondent
Nov. 4, 2013, BET ‘s annual award show, Black Girls Rock! was met with backlash from social media users.
Black Girls Rock, a non-profit organization started in 2006, is dedicated to the empowerment of young Black women, giving them the tools to overcome the myriad of obstacles they face in our misogynistic society.
The award show works as a night to highlight the outstanding accomplishments and contributions made by women of color to American society, communicating the message of Black solidarity.
On the night of the show’s airing, the BET Twitter account started the hashtag #BlackGirlsRock. As a result, many Black men and white women accused the show of promoting a double standard in racism. Comments were made to the effect that if #WhiteGirlsRock had been the trending hashtag, it would not have been well received and considered essentially racist.Although I do not disagree that often cultural solidarity promotes a racial divide, when minorities are categorically underrepresented in media, these components are necessary due to the lack of color shown in today’s mainstream society.
Tommie Shelby, Professor of African American Studies and Philosophy at Harvard University defines “Black solidarity” as, “the joint efforts of the African-American community to promote a positive collective identity and to recognize a shared oppression and its impacts.” Black solidarity is necessary to gain perspective. Without Black unity, African Americans would by and largely still be left out of much of our national political discourse. Only through banding together were African Americans truly able to fight racism and overcome discontempt. It seems that many skeptics today argue that Black solidarity is outdated in a so called “post-racial” society.
Although society today is viewed as fairly progressive, there is always room for change. Systematic barriers still exist within our government that prevent the success of minorities, especially African Americans. This oppressive cycle sustains a society with huge racial disparities in social, economic, and political issues. Thus today, there are still many things that negatively impact the lives of Black people at disproportionately higher rates than for those of other ethnicities.
Though these users felt personally victimized by the show’s existence saying it encourages a racial divide, they are no where to be found in the conversation of true instances of racial discrimination within our society. Clutch, an online magazine, asks “where are the hashtags when Black women are systematically shut out of every other avenue of popular culture from the fashion industry to Awards season?”
The comments made by Black men and white women in response to Black Girls Rock! expose the necessity of such shows and organizations. Black Girls Rock! condones a positive self image for women of color and the award show specifically helps to recognize and emphasize the talents of extraordinary women of color that would otherwise be shadowed by American media. It is crucial for young minority women to have role models to look up to that also look like them. This type of mutual identification resonates with young women and encourages solidarity. We need Black Girls Rock! because Black girls and women are almost invisible in American media.
Devonte Keith | Staff Writer
NFL offensive guard Richie Incognito was recently suspended indefinitely from the Miami Dolphins football team due to his alleged harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin. Since the suspension, news has been spreading like wildfire as both parties share their side of the story.
According to ESPN, Incognito is being accused of bullying and intimidating Martin. Incognito pressured Martin to pay $15,000 for a trip for himself and other members of team. Martin refused to pay for the trip since he would not be attending. This stemmed a disturbing, racially-charged voicemail in which Incognito threatened Martin while using racial slurs. According to Yahoo! Sports, these voicemails not only caused Martin to file a complaint, but also caused him to leave the team.
Most of the NFL plays these actions off as innocent “rookie hazing,” which are meant to be part of the team building experience. Even though these hazing activities were meant to be innocent, several of Incognito’s teammates felt that he went too far. Incognito has a history of hazing teammates. According to USA Today, during his freshmen year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Incognito physically abused a teammate during practice until eventually the other player got fed up and walked off the field.
According to his teammate, Incognito plowed into his back for no reason. Incognito’s actions caused his teammate to quit the team. Incognito was later kicked off the University of Nebraska-Lincoln football team and has since then gained notoriety as the NFL’s Dirtiest Player, according to a 2009 survey by Sporting News. Incognito also has a history of getting into fights with his teammates, players from other teams, and even brawls in bars and nightclubs.
As Richie Incognito is undergoing fire from the media and the NFL, he continues to state that he isn’t racist despite the racial slurs he left on Martin’s voicemail. Ironically according to the Huffington Post, Incognito’s Dolphins teammates considered him to be an “honorary Black guy.” One of Incognito’s former teammates told Huffington, “Being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.” To add to this, an article in the Miami Herald stated that Jonathan Martin’s teammates considered him soft. Because of this, a lot of his teammates were reluctant to accept him as a member on the team.
Even with America’s extensive history of separation based on race, situations such as Incognito’s are taken lightly simply because he’s the “cool white guy.” Sometimes the question is even raised whether statements or jokes are in blatant racism, or just in friendship. This issue also brings up the flaws in the current concept of having the “N-word pass.” Should African-American culture be jeopardized or thought less of simply because white counterparts are more aware and even involved in it?
Countless NFL athletes have heard Incognito throwing the N-word around in many situations. In fact, according to an article in the Miami Herald, Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was once knocked down and called the n-word by Incognito during a game. One has to wonder whether the words were out of sheer hate, or just to get in the opposing player’s head. Either way, maybe a small joke among friends is better left unsaid.
Taari Coleman | Staff Writer
Weeks after Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) Kenan Thompson was interviewed by TV Guide, and implied that there were no Black women prepared to join the show’s cast, an episode aired with actress Kerry Washington as host.
The well known lead of ABC’s hit show Scandal, Washington performed well and was an interesting contribution to the show for the evening. As the first person of color to host this season, SNL used Washington’s presence as an opportunity to address a few of the concerns raised by Thompson’s TV Guide interview.
The opening sketch featured Washington and another of SNL’s cast members, Jay Pharaoh, portraying President Barack Obama and the First Lady in the Oval Office. During the scene, several African-American females come to visit the White House, all of whom must be played by Washington, because of Thompson’s refusal to do so weeks prior.
Interestingly, during Washington’s costume change from the First Lady to Oprah, a paragraph scrolled up the screen that stated, “The producers of SNL would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play tonight. We made these requests both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent and also because SNL does not currently have a black woman in the cast. As for the latter reason, we agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the future … unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.”
What was not interesting, was the “number of Black women” Washington was asked to play. Whether an assistant to an over-energetic workout instructor, or a contestant on a parody of MTV’s Next, the characters Washington portrayed were not the most socially diverse.
SNL’s approach to its obvious race issue was humor; to round out the jokes, an appearance was even made by Al Sharpton, who is of course the spokesperson of all Black people. Sharpton arrived at the end of the sketch and said, “What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing.”
In one fell swoop, SNL managed to deny all of Thompson’s claims that there were no Black women ready join the cast and crafted an episode designed to appeal majorly to an African-American audience. This makes many believe that the show, as well as the media as a whole, has no idea what to do with or how to portray Black women.
The November issue of Essence magazine included a survey of Black women and how they feel about their images in the media. According to Essence, most Black women saw the media display them as, “Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies.” The survey also indicated that not only was negative interpretation of Black women seen twice as often as positive, but that most “African-American women reported higher levels of happiness with their natural beauty and appearance, plus their spiritual lives and religious commitments.”
Satire aside, the question that Saturday Night Live has jokingly tossed out on the table has become, where did this mold for the public’s “Black Woman” come from, and how do we go about breaking it?