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HBCU Homecoming

Miss Hampton pageant is just one reason we have the #bestHBCUhomecoming

Forget GHOE and FAMUly Reunion, Hampton University has HUHC168

On Oct. 1, as I walked around the campus of the Standard of Excellence – my historically black university, Hampton University – I noticed something different. It was something about the aura of my peers that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until it hit me. It was homecoming month.

Tickets for parties and events were being sold left and right, and it was the only topic of conversation. The unveiling event kicks off the homecoming season. All of the homecoming events are revealed to the campus community after being kept under wraps for months. After the unveiling, homecoming was so close that we could taste it. This event, and others put our campus in the homecoming spirit of the #BestHBCUHomecoming.

One of the highlights of Hampton’s Homecoming is the Miss Hampton University Scholarship Pageant. This year, I participated in the competition as the only junior on campus running – and I placed.

Seeing the hard work and dedication that I and seven other young women put into the competition showed me the relevance of pageants today. Many applied to be selected as a candidate for the competition, but only eight were chosen. We learned about ourselves, our university, each other and of course, what beauty is to each of us.

“My favorite part [of the pageant] was the bonds we all had as pageant sisters. Just being able to be a part of something so special with powerful and like-minded women was a blessing that I will forever cherish,” said Desiree Jones, a senior marketing major from Atlanta.

Though it’s looked at as just a pageant, there’s much more that goes into the competition. Interviews, putting together an effective platform, having a professional presentation, and making it into a show for the entire university to see.

“Pageants are important on HBCU [historically black colleges and universities] campuses because they allow women to be confident and embrace their inner and outer beauty. They also allow women to demonstrate their talent and explore their passions,” said Pearis Bellamy, a senior psychology major from Marlton, New Jersey.

What a lot of people fail to realize when looking at pageants, especially on HBCU campuses, is that practice, presentation and dignity all go into being the face of your university – not just being a pretty face.

Many vied for the title, but only one came out victorious. This year’s Miss Hampton, Brooklyne Baker, is the first person in the homecoming parade, and she leads off the week’s events with her coronation on Oct. 15.

Other events this week:

  • Bonfire – a celebration outside Hampton’s convocation center
  • Wild ‘N Out-themed comedy show – students compete like the Wild ‘N Out television show
  • Fashion show – students model other students’ brands, and local brands
  • Gospel concert
  • Student concert, featuring PnB Rock and DJ Envy
  • Celebration jazz concert featuring Brian Culbertson kicks off Hampton’s sesquicentennial – hosted by Hampton alumna Wanda Sykes
  • Greek step show – Divine Nine organizations compete for the title of homecoming step show champion
  • Bazaar – food trucks, black brands and student brands are featured
  • Parade – all student organizations march around the local community
  • Game against Florida A&M University

All of these events and more create what Hampton students and alumni affectionately call “HUHC168,” which refers to the homecoming experience and how the entire week lasts a total of 168 hours.

“My favorite part of homecoming is seeing the alumni come back,” said Simone Williams, a junior strategic communications major for Philadelphia. “It makes me take pride in my university. It’s like a family reunion – especially with the food and music!”

Lastly, let’s not forget the POP OUT. It’s a part of the Hamptonian culture to show up and show out. We don’t wear sweatpants and sneakers homecoming week – we make sure we are seen at our best. Hampton is the most fashionable HBCU. If you don’t think so, just @ a Hamptonian, we’d love to chat about it.

The theme for the year is “legendary.” Homecoming is here and better than ever! It’s Hampton’s 150th anniversary, and President William R. Harvey’s 40th year as president. It’s a legendary year, and a legendary homecoming. Hampton students, alumni, and administration – what are you doing with your 168 hours? It’s time to show the world why Hampton is the #BestHBCUHomecoming.

Kyla L. Wright is a Rhoden Fellow and a sophomore journalism major, graphic design minor from Detroit. She attends Hampton University and writes for the Hampton Script.