Majorette dance teams are an undeniable and integral part of Historically Black Colleges and Universities' traditions and culture. In recent years, they have sparked in overall mainstream popularity, largely as a result of Beyoncé's "Homecoming" performance during Coachella in 2018.
Recently, a Black student at the University of Southern California took to social media to highlight her creation of a majorette team, comprised of Black individuals, for her school. On Twitter, she shared a video of the majorette team's first performance along with their official name—The Cardinal Divas. The movements were precise and sharp, they looked good collectively and had the crowd hype. Simply put, they received a great deal of love for this accomplishment.
oh nothing… i created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game.— Princess👸🏾 (@princesslang0) September 19, 2022
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
However, the moment of celebration was quickly met with conflicting opinions that filter into the HBCU vs. PWI (predominately white institution) debate that many fiercely carry positions on. Many felt that the creation of the majorette team, equated with HBCU culture, had no place at a PWI. This positioning then led down the rabbit hole filled with those who criticized Black folks who choose to attend PWIs in place of HBCUs but want to replicate the same sense of belonging that HBCUs have historically provided.
I’m perfectly fine standing on this hill by myself. But wanting HBCU culture at white schools… instead of going to an HBCU… is weird. https://t.co/qQEuEuKl2Y— 🎈Yaq🅴🎈 AKA The Visionary (@BigHomieKODAQ) September 19, 2022
It is understandable for many to want to gatekeep HBCU culture as so many other parts of Black ingenuity are broken down for spare parts across American society. However, that is only a small part of a greater umbrella of Black culture. HBCU culture only symbolizes the dopeness of Blackness. It is this type of elitist divisiveness exhibited in this debate that prevents well-meaning Black folks from wanting to take part in the beautiful traditions that our ancestors have built. This behavior in turn dissuades them from wanting to build unity and hold little respect for the institutions created as a source of Black identity and solidarity. Why are we gatekeeping each other as we all crave a sense of communal belonging and pride?
Additionally, there are countless incidences of Black youth who dream of attending illustrious HBCUs only to then find that their desired program of study is not offered, or they cannot afford to attend due to a lack of financial aid provided, or they don't hear back from the schools at all as they simply do not have the infrastructure to properly tend to a large volume of applications and requests—all of which are points that speak to larger issues.
Instead, what should be rewarded and recognized is that a young student took it upon themselves to create an outlet for Black expression in a space where it has traditionally been missing. One Twitter user, as seen below, best put it by saying, "Culture is for us wherever we go." It is not to be dictated by a few when it was made to show love and reverence for us all who identify as Black in this world.
I absolutely love this. As a USC mom who went to an HBCU with a daughter at an HBCU, I appreciate you putting our style on a major scale. USC football is huge and whether folks wanted to see it or not, they did. Culture isn’t restricted to HBCU’s. Culture is for us wherever we go— Mary Michelle (@MaryMichelle79) September 19, 2022
All in all, it isn't that deep and we have bigger fish to fry as a culture and community than this.