I hope your homecoming week was phenomenal. One of the focal points of the week was the homecoming concert. It was headlined by Clifford Harris, affectionately known as T.I. I have to admit, I was surprised that he was chosen to headline, especially since his most recent performances have really exhibited his zest for social justice. When I applied to a PWI, I never thought T.I. would be the main act for one of our homecoming concerts.
Regardless of whether or not I was attending, I was excited to see how his support of the Black Lives Matter movement would affect the atmosphere of the concert. When I heard that students started to leave because T.I. used expletives towards Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and that even more students left when he brought up police brutality and other injustices within our country, I can’t say I was shocked.
Students at NCSU love our black men and the contributions of black students but continue to struggle with cultural competency. Personally, this is not surprising to me. This is nothing new. Many students at NCSU love black bodies when they are providing them with entertainment in Carter Finley Stadium or PNC Arena, but remain silent when our black men are slaughtered in the streets.
Our fellow students removed Black Lives Matter signs in Talley as if T.I. or their other favorite rap artists could not be turned into the next hashtag.Our fellow students love rap music and love to use the N word in casual conversation, but then ignore the cries of black people when we say that blackface is not acceptable.
Why is it that our white counterparts love seeing movies in Witherspoon Student Center, but refuse to acknowledge that the building is the only one on campus named after an African American? Why do they only see Witherspoon for the cinema but ignore the African American Cultural Center on the third floor?
In the words of Hunger Games star Amandla Sternberg, “What would America be like if it loved black people as much as it loves black culture?” If you’re reading this, I would challenge you to have those uncomfortable conversations and get to the root of the issue as to why our peers would rather remain colorblind than stand in solidarity with us.
Nothing but love,