BY: DANIELLE GERMAIN
Men of the Nu Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. gathered last Sunday to host a banquet honoring women of color from the campuses of George Washington University, American University and Georgetown University. Summarized as "an evening of elegance, awards, and entertainment," the event took place in Post Hall located on George Washington University's Mount Vernon campus.
Hosts of "Dinner on The Nile"
President of Nu Beta, ACE of the Spring '16 Line
Othniel M.A. Harris
Vice-President of Nu Beta, Quad of the Fall â€˜16 Line
Ace of the Fall â€˜16 Line
Tail of the Fall â€˜16 Line
TRE-ROCK of the Fall '16 line
TAIL of the Spring '16 line
Georgino Joasil, President of Nu Beta, kicked things off by welcoming everyone to the beginning of "Alpha Week." "Alpha Week" is exactly what it sounds like, a week of events ran by men of the fraternity ranging from free haircuts to community discussions, ending their week of service with a huge celebration. There was no better way to start the week off than by hosting a dinner praising so many amazing black woman. Joasil's speech discussed how this dinner came to be and the huge influence that black women have played on his life. What resonated most with me was the ending, where he spoke about the power and strength that black women have.
"No matter what is thrown their way, black women have this distinct ability to not only succeed, but find ways to uplift those around them in the process," Joasil told the audience. "So let me just say to everyone here this evening. There was nothing like you, there is nothing like you and there shall be nothing like you."
After dinner and light conversation, Lawrence Holman on the mic and Leayrohn King on the 1s and 2s, we heard next from Kenya Moncur-Whitaker who performed a poem dedicated to his future daughter. Check out the poem below.
Black Queen do you know who you are?
Your skin it tells stories from a land afar
You're so Foreign
You're so gorgeous
Your mother is Nefertiti
Your aunty is Queen Beyonce
Your nana fought for your freedom
With this you will inevitably
Skin Mixed with the finest of milk and honey
With a ton of brown sugar
Be aware that Black don't crack
And if it did
Grab that cocoa butter bounce right back
Your curl pattern is lovely
3B to 4C
I can attest to the work ethic
And if you ever disrespected
Let me know, me and the bros will make sure they get the message
But you don't need protection
My love for you will be endless
My beautiful Black Queen.
Following this, the award ceremony began. The Annie C. Singleton award was given to young women who embody and demonstrate the same qualities seen in Mrs. Singleton on a daily basis, such as grace, selflessness and consideration for others. In the early 1900's, Annie C. Singleton provided a safe space in her home for seven Black male college students. Starting as a "literary club" on the Cornell University campus, the gathering of these young scholars became what is now known as the first African American fraternity. Founded in December of 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc was birthed, making Annie Singleton quite literally "the Mother of the Fraternity."
Recipients of the 2017 Annie C. Singleton Award:
Taylor Dumpson â€˜18
The American University
Shola Powell â€˜17
Abeke Teyibo '17
The George Washington University
Othniel M.A. Harris, Vice-President of Nu Beta, ended the evening by talking about the role that Black men have in upholding the respect of black womanhood in our society today. He talked about how Black men must continue to love and respect Black women, because in today's society, Black women are constantly being taken for granted. Read more of Harris' speech below.
"Women are the backbone of our society, especially within the Black community. With style, grace, poise and strength they are able to overcome every obstacle that they are faced with. In spite of the patriarchal system that oppresses Black women, still they rise. Our lovely Black sisters with the intersectional hatred of racism and misogyny, still they rise. Yet, Black women persevere, and become pillars in our society. It's when the funds are low, and the debts are high that they truly embody the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade."
Black greek organizations play a huge part in the lives of Black millennials. At many universities, we've seen the Divine Nine influence campus culture, social climates, and communities of color inside and outside of the classroom. Members are able to seek networking opportunities through their organizations, as well as dedicate their time to service and creating lifelong friendships.
"Their identity is largely born out of racial isolation and discrimination on predominantly White college campuses and in society, in general," says Gregory S. Parks, editor of "Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun" in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. "As such, their goals have always been the development of personal excellence (usually high scholasticism), development of fictive-kinship ties (brotherhood and sisterhood), and racial (and gender for the sororities) uplift through civic action, community service, and philanthropy."
I can only hope that, as a community, we will continue to support these organizations and the purpose they stand for. It's events like this one that remind me that many organizations like Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, are working to recognize and appreciate the valuable support they receive. It's important that we do the same for them. Black greek life has played such a monumental role in history and each organization has left a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.
Cover: Ma'at Sargeant via Instagram