We’re barely into the new year and already Boosie Badazz has many wanting to step. And I ain’t talking about at a step show.
OK, let me quickly remind you of what happened so I can skip to the part where I tell you don’t be like Boosie.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-rapper caught heat when showed up to an NBA game, rocking a red-and-white sweatshirt, bearing the letters of the historic Black Greek organization, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Sitting front row, with diamond chains covering up most of the letters, while holding what looks like alcohol (which is a big no-no in your letters), Boosie proudly took selfies, dapped up James Harden and repped an organization he doesn’t belong to.
After posting the selfies to Instagram, it didn’t take long for the brothers of Kappa to demand he take the photo down. I mean, Boosie committed the offense just days after the crimson and cream men celebrated the day they were founded by 10 Black college students at the turn of the 20th century.
One comment read, “This isn’t cool at all. Not sure if you’re doing this for a laugh or because you think you’re above order due to your celebrity status. This is extremely offensive and disrespectful to my fraternity as a whole. This post needs to come down.”
Initially, the rapper refused, claiming he grabbed the shirt at the mall and asked people to #leavemealone. But as details continued to spill out, including one that claimed Boosie’s own brother is a Kappa (so he, ahem, knows better), the rapper changed his tune saying he’d never wear the sweatshirt again. There is a gawd!
But as Black Twitter continues to debate, and members of Black Greek organizations try to explain what the big deal is, there is a silver lining: Now we can all be on one accord. Let’s learn from Boosie’s misstep. Don’t wear the letters of Black Greek organizations if you’re not a member. Point blank, period.
Sure, Kappas stroll to Boosie’s 2006 hit “Wipe Me Down,” which provides the perfect syncopated rhythm for the fraternity’s iconic shimmy (and the rapper did say he intended to show love, and not be disrespectful). But that doesn’t mean Boosie get’s the green light, or should I say red light, to pick up a sweatshirt and start throwing up the diamond (the fraternity’s hand sign). The members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. love the George Clinton classic “Atomic Dog,” but you don’t see him throwing up the hooks. C’mon.
It’s almost like Boosie putting on an NBA uniform and strutting onto the basketball court. He may look like a player, but he won’t know how to play with those guys. And that’s if he even makes it that far. Surely, he’d be escorted off the court.
Black Greek organizations aren’t a game. They aren’t fashion. For college students and graduates, like myself who pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, men and women go through a process (read: thoroughly study Black history, endure and enjoy secret ceremonies and even pay dues.) They earned each and every letter by dedicating their time and themselves to an organization they too admired. Being a Black Greek isn’t sporting a sweatshirt. It’s believing in the ideals set forth by Black students in colleges, or in cities, who didn’t want them there.
Do it the right way so you can deeply understand the Black-enthused beauty that is sororities and fraternities.
When Delta was founded in 1913, months later the ladies walked in the Washington, D.C.-held Women’s Suffrage Parade at the complete back of the march, with White racists yelling and even spitting on them. It wasn’t easy, but those women knew the sacrifices they were making that day would go onto affect Black people in this country for generations. And they were willing to make that sacrifice. So when we put on our letters, we remember those sacrifices and so many more. Our letters remind us to live up to the ideals of sisterhood and service. And I’m sure the Kappas feel the same way about their letters and their brotherhood.
It’s definitely cool to have admiration for fraternities and sororities. Honestly, that’s why many of us pledged in the first place. But hopefully those same people who are intrigued by a few Greek letters later discover that the organizations are a lifetime commitment, meaning it’s never too late to pledge. Do it the right way so you can deeply understand the Black-enthused beauty that is sororities and fraternities.
And listen, Mr. Boosie, I’ve been there. My great-grandmother is a Delta founder. My grandmother is a Delta. My momma is a Delta. Most of the women in my family are Deltas. I knew what a Delta was before I knew how to tie my shoes. But when I asked why I couldn’t throw up the sign, and why I couldn’t oo-oop, the answer was simple: Because you’re not a Delta. And so I sought to become one, learning about Delta’s storied history.
Rap has come a long way. It went from rappers trying to “keep it real,” spitting about everything from slinging drugs to growing up in the hood to faking like you’re a college student and pledging a fraternity. Shout out to nerds being cool now.
On a super serious note though, the Black bottom line is: If you’re not a member, don’t wear Greek paraphernalia. It’s really that simple. And thankfully Boosie said he’d never wear it again.
P.s. Be sure to give that sweatshirt to your brother. We don’t throw away our letters. He’ll explain.