Hampton University’s Homecoming Weekend has officially concluded and one thing that everyone in attendance can agree on is that the weekend itself was epic!!! As usual there were no shortage of events planned to occupy hip Hamptonians. From gala’s, cabarets, bazaars, Stepshows, parades, and concerts, there was something for everybody.
While I make it a point to return to my “Home by the Sea” every couple of years for homecoming; attending this year was super important to me because 2016 marked the fifteenth year that I have been a member of my beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. In anticipation of homecoming my line sisters and I have spent the last six months coordinating schedules, organizing trips, and of course… picking out our dope new jackets!!!! Because the 10 of us are scattered around the world ( What’s happening in Japan Jana’e ?!?!), We cherish the moments that we get to spend together. This year we were determined that our “Homecoming turn-up” would be one for the books!
Ironically our weekend started in Suffolk, Virginia. Sherese, Joni, Warren (our Frat brother/what y’all know bout the constitutional bond?), and I meet about a block away from my house at a Kohls. Somehow the three of them forgot that Virginia’s weather is fickle and left home without jackets, or proper shoes (Side-eye). Anyhow, after dropping a GRIP… we were on our way to campus. It may sound crazy, but I swear it doesn’t matter how often I go there; every time I approach the I-64 exit 267 that reads Hampton University, I get a flutter in my belly. I’m not joking… it’s how I know that “I LOVE MY H.I.U!!!”
Campus was jumping! There were people everywhere; young and old, beautiful shades of black beings carrying on the way that only Hamptonians can. There were clothing vendors, makeup artist, and FOOD TRUCKS!!! It was everything that I remember and more. So I stood right there in the center of campus and exhaled… I was indeed home <3. We spent the entire afternoon catching up with undergraduate Sorors and engaging in small talk with former classmates. Oh yeah… there was a lot of picture-taking too, LOL :-).
A few of my favorite photos taken on 10/14/16 at the Homecoming Bazaar
After the Bazaar we split up for a bit. My friend Erika and I hit up Chipotle and H&M, while those who came in from out of town checked in to their hotels and freshened up. At 8pm I was walking into the lobby of Sherese and Joni’s cozy but HOT as HELL hotel room (I mean that in a literal sense)!!!!!! This is where the fun really begun. We spent the next couple of hours going down memory lane, trying on clothes, exchanging makeup advice, and passing around pictures of our little ones. When Una came through the door holding a bottle of Jack.. we were all in!!! Before I go any further let me just explain that Una is, and has always been the life of the party!!! She has a “set fire to the wind” attitude and there is never a dull moment when she is around. With that said… please know that because everyone that I spent the weekend with is a professional in his/her own right, what you are getting is a watered down version of our night. What actually went down… I’ll never tell!!!!
At 11:00pm wearing our “I am” shirts with fitted jeans and faces beat to the GODS … my crew and I rolled into Cove Tavern. Once again, the AMAZING men of Phi Beta Sigma were there to greet us; they even had a round of alcohol waiting as we walked in (Did I mention how much I adore them). Slow sipping my Rum and coke I took stalk of my surroundings. Cove Tavern was indeed a great place to host an event. The wait staff was friendly and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. I counted several stone fire places and I loved both the deco and the view of the surrounding area that the setup afforded.
After a drink or two I was ready to dance! The DJ must have read my mind because no sooner did I put down my drink, did he break into a string of my favorite hits!!! When So For Real’s Candy Rain came on and my Line Sisters and I were all over the floor . We danced until we got thirsty, stopped to get a drink, and then danced some more. In between dancing there was a lot of small talk and catching up. I swear Hampton must also contain the fountain of youth because many people still look the way they did all those years ago when they completed their matriculation at HU! After hours of partying and soaking up the environment at Cove Tavern, we decided to make our way to the next venue. We leisurely walked the two blocks from one bar to another, carrying our heels and wedges in hand and belting out the Lyrics to SWV’s WEAK. I wish that I could tell you the name of the second joint that we went to, but I was definitely tipsy at this point and all that I can remember is smoke machines and Go-Go music!
The second venue was just as lit as the first! The DJ kept the party hype and I definitely saw more of my actual classmates here (Ogre phi Ogre XI). Once again I was all about getting my groove on! I love to dance so as along as the DJ is spinning, everything else is secondary. We concluded the night by heading back to the original club, drinking and partying a bit more, and meeting Iris (the Ace of our line) and her husband Reggie for a quick hug. Iris recently had foot surgery and is using a scooter to get around; she and Reggie also spent much of the day traveling so they declined our invitation to stay and play :-(.
It was nearly 4am when I pulled into my driveway. Sherese and Joni wanted me to stay with them, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep well if I didn’t go home, so I bit the bullet and made the 45 minute trek back to my side of the water. In doing so I fully expected to get at least 5 hours of sleep. You know that I was mad when my eyes popped open at 8:30am!!! I’m not a very heavy sleeper and once I’m up… I’m up! After a quick conversation with the hubby, we decided to take the boys to the homecoming parade. While it was unplanned, I truly enjoyed being able to spend quality time with the family at Hampton. The boys had a blast at the parade and running around the yard, while my hubby was feeling the wing place that they now have on campus. After dropping off the boys and changing clothes, I headed back to campus for the tailgate and game.
The Fam and I at HU’s Homecoming Parade 2016
Now… I’m not even going to get into all the changes that Hampton has made in regards to homecoming and tailgating. I refuse to do so, because I don’t want to come across as a mad black woman! However… I will say that I am a mad about the $25 that I came out-of-pocket with just to tailgate (did you see what I did there?), LOL. Furthermore, I am irritated at how unorganized the ticket/wristband process was!!! Moving along, the tailgate was everything! Sorors, Frat, food, and fun is what it boils down to. Oh yeah.., and Kitty Milk!!! Listen I’d never heard of the devilishly sweet drink that my young Sorors whipped up for me this weekend. However, after experiencing it… I want more. Kudos to the creators of this drink and XOXO’s for giving it such a cute name ❤
Getting on to campus was a nightmare for those who arrived later, thus I spent a great deal of time waiting for Iris and Monica E to arrive. It was okay because I was thoroughly entertained by my line sister Elena’s adorable children ❤ . There were some amazing vendors at Homecoming, so I occupied the remainder of my time by shopping!!! I was so tempted to buy all of the cute bags, sweaters, and T-shirts being peddled along the streets of the Student Center. Each T-shirt was embroidered with some hipster term like “Melanin on Fleek” or “Black Girl Magic”. There was also some insane sorority paraphernalia so my shopping game was strong! I brought a couple of T-shirts, a sorority pin, and a very nice sweat shirt. Than back to the tailgate I went for a ton of picture-taking, blue juice drinking , and party hopping fun!!!
Hampton University’s Homecoming 2016
By the time the tailgate ended, I was exhausted! It’s a sure sign of the times because back in the day I could party all weekend and not miss a beat. This weekend, I would have given anything to be able to take a nap, LOL. For some, Saturday night concluded with drinks and mingling at “The Kick Back” which was pitched as a fun after the game spot where one could relax and enjoy drinks and good conversation. For others… it ended with a bottle of wine from their private stock, a hot shower, and Pandora radio set to the India.arie station (guess which group I was in).
In true Hampton fashion, one of the biggest events of the Weekend was the 3rd Annual Hamptonians who Brunch event. Everyone who attended spoke of the amazing atmosphere and the delicious Mimosa’s that are always plentiful. I skipped the brunch this year to have an intimate breakfast with some very special Hampton Ladies whom I’ve known from day one at HU <3. Driving home Sunday morning I watched Hampton University fade into the background from my rearview mirror. Once again there was that quick flutter in my belly, only this time it was accompanied by a lump in my throat. The love that I have for HU, for the people and the connections that I have made there is like no other. Hamptonians are movers, shakers, and money makers. They both motivate and inspire me to do more and be better. Until next time, I am just a proud Hamptonian, eagerly awaiting my next visit to my Home by the Sea <3.
While my weekend was full of excitement and I was blessed to spend time with happy and loving people, I cannot even begin to pretend that it was drama free (because you know it wasn’t!). Anytime you attend a homecoming or class reunion, there is bound to be that one person who is angry and bitter with life. They pretend to have it all together but everyone knows that they are unhappy. These people are hung up on some event from the past. The only thing that keeps them going is the hope that someone somewhere will remember their past glory, and still respect them for it! I say this with a great deal of humility and love… MOVE ON!!!! After a brief run in with an unhappy girl, I decided to do two things: (1). Pray for her (I seriously have her name tacked to the prayer wall in my closet), and (2). Prepare a sort list of tips to help people like her move forward in life and find their HAPPY. Wanna see it? Here it goes…