An HBCU homecoming is like no other. Whether it’s the completely unexpected celebrity appearances or waiting in crowded lines for two-plus hours for a highly anticipated event, you’re sure to make some new and fun memories to tell future generations of HBCU students. And since (due to COVID) Howard has not held an in-person homecoming in more than two years, alumni and current students alike had to make up for lost time, making this year’s homecoming one of the most action packed celebrations in years.
As a freshman at Howard University, I was pleasantly surprised (and extremely annoyed at times) with the week-long celebration that was lined up for alumni and students. One of the first events on the schedule was “Bison Madness”. The event was structured like the All-Star Weekend Showcase that happens every year in the NBA, but with Howard basketball players showcasing their talents instead. Before I could witness this action packed event, I had to first wait in a line that stretched halfway across campus for almost two and a half hours. Campus security had their hands full as students tried to push through barriers in frustration. After successfully fighting my way through the crowd, I was met with the harmonious sound of the Howard University band, who energetically performed on the basketball court before the basketball players came out. Bison Madness was wrapped up with an unexpected performance by rapper IDK, a perfect way to kick off homecoming.
The main event of Howard’s homecoming was Yard Fest, a six-hour concert in the middle of the courtyard in which a mystery selection of artists performed. Vendors for clothing, food, and skincare also surround the yard, offering deals to alumni and students alike. The first well-known artist to arrive on the stage was Jacquees, who was met with screams of excitement from people who have ardently added his music to their sex playlists (let’s be honest) ever since he released his most well known song “B.E.D.” in 2016. After Jacquees, Chloe and Halle Bailey were invited on stage to promote their Neutrogena brand deal and to my disappointment, only ended up performing one and a half of their songs. I was honestly hoping that Halle was going to start singing “Part of Your World” from her upcoming “The Little Mermaid” live action movie, but I was again left disappointed.
The highlight of Yard Fest was rapper Flo Mili’s energetic performance. She was the only artist of the night to actually interact with the crowd. I of course knew the lyrics to every song she performed. The night unfortunately ended on a sour note, as the last artist to perform, GloRilla, arrived 45 minutes late, leaving the audience tired and ready to leave.
The week was also adorned with colorful events like a fashion show, step show, and a tailgate to celebrate Howard’s win against Delaware State in the homecoming game. After coming out of Howard Homecoming very tired and sick from being around crowds of thousands of people for a week, I now realize that homecoming is about building memories with friends. Whether they be exciting memories or memories of waiting in hot lines for hours on end, we will all look back on these shared stories, laugh, and wish that we could relive them just one more time.
by Amaar Zarrieff, Freshman, Howard University
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