According to NewsOne, a video showing a dance team at USC (University of California) during its inaugural performance this past weekend went viral, sparking a hot Twitter debate.
The eight-second video, posted to social media by singer-dancer-actress (princesslang0), showed a group of ‘happy’ young Black women (calling themselves The Cardinal Divas of SC) dancing in sync as a crowd of white fans cheered in the background at the predominantly white institution (PWI).
The video captioned, “oh nothing… i created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game,” the tweet said. “truly though, I’m so blessed and can’t thank God enough. Thank you to my parents and to everyone who supported me along this LONG journey. And my girls FYE The Cardinal Divas of SC are UP NEXT.”
oh nothing… i created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game.
truly though i’m so blessed and can’t thank God enough. Thank you to my parents and to everyone who supported me along this LONG journey. and my girls FYE The Cardinal Divas of SC are UP NEXT. pic.twitter.com/vif5e02z4b
— Princess (@princesslang0) September 19, 2022
But what seemed like a proud moment for Princess quickly took a turn with users getting into a heated debate about Black culture in white universities. Specifically, the culture associated with historically Black universities (HBCUs) on PWI campuses.
Most users felt that maybe Princess should have just gone to an HBCU if she was looking for a Black college dance experience in such a group. “This is great and all, but why not just go to an HBCU…,” said one Twitter user.
Another user later argued that since white students attend HBCUs and even pledge to historically Black fraternities and sororities, having Black students create Black traditions at PWIs should be a non-issue.
Here are some of the reactions:
IN THIS VERY SPECIFIC EXAMPLE… I GET THE OUTRAGE. THAT STYLE OF CHEER IS SPECIFICALLY HBCU. AND I SAY THAT AS A PWI ALUM. SORRY BUT SOMETHINGS, WE REALLY GOTTA GATEKEEP. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CULTURAL IDENTITY. IF A BUNCH OF WHITE GIRLS DID THIS, WE’D BE UPSET. AND RIGHTLY SO.
A FEW HOURS AGO, MY WIFE ASKED ME IF I THOUGHT PWIS SHOULD HAVE MAJORETTE TEAMS AND I SAID, “ABSOLUTELY NOT.” BUT I DIDN’T HAVE THIS CONTEXT. I THOUGHT SHE MEANT WHITE GIRLS. BLACK PEOPLE CAN AND SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO “BLACK THINGS” IN ANY AND EVERY SPACE THEY’RE IN. FULL STOP.
AS A BLACK GIRL THAT WENT TO A PWI, IN THE SEC, I ACTUALLY DON’T CARE FOR THIS LOL. IF YOU WANT THE HBCU EXPERIENCE, THEN THAT’S WHERE U SHOULD’VE WENT. I ALSO DON’T BELIEVE IN TAKING AWAY (ENROLLMENT/TUITION) FROM THE HBCUS THAT WILL GIVE YOU THIS EXPERIENCE.
HBCU and PWI debates are not new. In fact, HBCUs were established in the 19th Century since “Black students were unwelcome at existing public and private institutions of higher education.”
Since then, HBCUs have formed an irrefutable culture that’s been widely recognized and imitated by Black students at PWIs and beyond – be it bands, Greek life, or other forms of extracurricular activities. Queen Bey has also tapped into the HBCU culture with her show-stopping Netflix Homecoming special.
What are your thoughts?